To promote entrepreneurial engagement and education, ASCEND hosts and promotes a number of events.    

ASCEND 2021 Business Advising Cohort

Apply Here!

The Business Advising cohort is designed to help early-stage biomedical companies take the next step towards commercialization. We will select companies to participate in the four-week cohort. Each company will have the opportunity to attend one-on-one sessions with the ASCEND Business Advising team and industry mentors. The sessions are broken down into the following categories:

  • Week of April 26: Company overview, technology review, and pitch deck coaching.
  • Week of May 3: Mentoring and resource need assessments.
  • Week of May 10: Pitch refinement.  
  • Week May 17: Pitch competition. 

The Business Advising cohort is open to university-affiliated biomedical/biotech companies within the NIH Western IDeA States: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Selected companies from the pitch competition will be eligible to receive:

Questions? Contact Kathy Foster at

ASCEND is committed to providing an inclusive approach for meaningful outreach to traditionally underrepresented groups for robust participation in programming and activity to elevate equitable input from our region’s diverse population. 

NIH Small Business Education and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED)

NIH SEED supports the NIH innovator community in their efforts to validate the potential health impacts of promising scientific discoveries and advance them into healthcare products that improve patient care and enhance health. Developing products across the biomedical spectrum requires NIH’s collaboration with universities and research institutions, small businesses, trade associations and societies, angel investors, venture capitalists, and strategic partners. SEED leads initiatives that develop these relationships and build opportunities for NIH innovators to further their product development efforts.

To access the site and for more detailed information, please click here

Scientist Mentoring & Diversity Program (SMDP) Biotech and MedTech Call for Applicants

SMDP Biotech
The one-year career mentoring program pairs ethnically diverse graduate students and post-doctoral researchers with industry mentors who work at biotech and consumer healthcare companies.

Who may apply?
Graduate students and post-doctoral researchers with degrees in life sciences

SMDP MedTech
The one-year career mentoring program pairs ethnically diverse undergraduate and graduate students with mentors who work at medical device and consumer healthcare companies.

Who may apply?
Undergraduate Juniors and Seniors in Engineering, or BS degree, MS degree, Ph.D.

Applications for both are due April 11, 2021.

For more information and to apply, click here:

NIH C3i Program

e-C3i Pilot

The e-C3i course is a newly launched online component of the C3i Program and is designed to provide medical device innovators with an educational foundation of business frameworks and tools to assess the opportunity to translate an idea from the lab (concept) to the market (clinic). Through this course, the NIH provides entrepreneurial education for investigators who are interested in better understanding the value of their innovation in addressing an unmet market need. The online curriculum and customized mentoring provided by the e-C3i course are intended to guide investigators as they assess the commercial viability and potential business opportunity for their innovation.

Program Description

The e-C3i course is an online entrepreneurial education platform, covering 10-weeks and providing valuable business approaches to evaluating the commercial potential of promising biomedical technologies.  Participants in the e-C3i Program will learn an initial set of core skills that will enable them to:

  1. characterize the unmet market need
  2. identify the key product attributes
  3. conduct customer and stakeholder interviews
  4. validate the business opportunity

Applications are due on May 25, 2021.

For more information and to apply, click here:

2021 HHS Small Business Program Conference: Diverse Perspectives SEEDing Impactful Innovations

Are you a life science entrepreneur or biomedical researcher looking for seed funding? Are you a stakeholder in a minority-owned business? Are you new to NIH small business programs?  If so, make plans today to participate in the 2021 HHS Small Business Program Conference, presented virtually from April 26-30. Registration is free!

Hosted by the NIH Small business Education and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) Office, the theme of this event is Diverse Perspectives SEEDing Impactful Innovations. During this conference, you’ll be introduced to the wide variety of funding, resources, and biomedical product development tools that SEED has to offer the small business community, as well as a wider series of initiatives at NIH aimed at diversifying the biomedical workforce. In addition, the conference offers the opportunity to schedule individual meetings with federal program staff for more personal guidance on how to move your small business grant application forward.

Click here to register:

NIH Grants 101 and the Early Career Reviewer (ECR) Program

Join the NIH Center for Scientific Review on April 14th, 2021 at 2 PM ET to learn more about navigating the NIH, about the peer review process, and how to gain experience as a reviewer that you can use in preparing your own applications.

Click here to register:

NIH Small Business Success Stories

The NIH SEED office has created a new website that highlights the products and services small businesses have developed with NIH support. The website works as a new interactive mapping tool to highlight the amazing stories of success that have come out of NIH small business investments. Now it’s easy to find stories from different parts of the country. You can look up stories by disease area, or even by the type of technology or product development stage! NIH funding and support help create a solid foundation for small businesses, allowing them to pivot to address emerging public health needs like the coronavirus pandemic.

Click here to learn more!