Small Biz Start-Up:



The 2017 Beall New Venture Competition at The Paul Merage School of Business is one of the nation’s premier new venture competitions offering all UC Irvine students, staff and researchers the opportunity to form a team, create a startup and potentially fund their idea all within six months. The competition begins with our signature kickoff event on November 9 at 5:30 p.m.



The objective of the competition is two-fold:

  1. Provide students with a hands-on opportunity to be able to understand, experience and get involved in the process of launching a business
  2. Help students achieve their dream by launching startups that are fundable
After registering on iStart, participants form a team, submit their concept papers, attend competition-related workshops and submit their final business plan. This culminates in the selection of the semi-finalists and finalists.

The Final Presentations and Awards Ceremony for the Competition will be held on May 12. Winning teams will be awarded more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind awards on that day.

Between the kickoff and the finals, we offer more than 8 workshops covering a broad area of startup development skills led by experts and Beall New Venture Competition judges.



A special thanks to our sponsors:


UCI Blum Center






Hannah Thompson

Program Manager

Beall Center for Innovation

and Entrepreneurship



Competition Information:

Competition Format
Judging Guidelines
Award Divisions
Special Awards

Tech Surge Awards

Competition Registration
Competition Calendar



November 9, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.

2017 New Venture Competition Kickoff

The Paul Merage School of Business at UCI






1. Competition Format BACK TO TOP MENU

Part 1 of the Competition:

Submit a Concept Paper -- Participants are required to submit a concept paper that is no longer than 3 pages (not including the cover page). Concept papers are due by January 25, 2017. Judges will grade the papers to determine who is moving to the next round. Teams are required to submit a document similar to an executive summary and include the following:

    1. Pain point

    2. Value proposition

    3. Clearly defined target customer or market segment linked to the pain point

    4. Evidence of market research

    5. Clear competitive edge

    6. Explain how to make money

    7. Is there enough evidence to make 1-5 believable?

    8. Capability of the team

Each point listed above will be graded on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the “wow factor” and 1 being “Did not follow guidelines.”

Teams must identify with one of the following competition tracks:

  1. Consumer Products

  2. Consumer Services

  3. Business Products and Services

  4. Life Sciences

Part 2 of the Competition

Teams who advance to the next round will verbally present their pitch deck to a panel of judges at the New Venture Competition Final Presentation on May 12, 2017. See attached for pitch decks that were created by previous winners.

Please plan to attend the Final Presentation. During the 12-minute presentation, teams will be required to address:

  1. Product (Clear evidence of a market and business solution)

  2. Problem (Whether or not the problem has been fully and clearly addressed)

  3. Solution (New venture presents something novel, unique or special to provide competitive advantage in the target market)

  4. Business Model (Whether or not the business model presents a viable opportunity and favors success)

  5. Market Research Outcomes

  6. Marketing Plan (Whether or not the marketing plan is realistic, fully understood and favors success)

  7. Competition (Whether or not the competition was fully and clearly addressed)

  8. Management Team (Whether or not the management team was addressed; is fully capable)

  9. Financial Projections (Whether or not the team has a solid understanding of financial requirements of the startup; clear evidence of profitability)

  10. Summary and Call to Action (Summary was clearly and fully addressed. The call to action was understood)

  11. Response to Questions (Ability to understand judges’ inquiries and respond appropriately to questions with substantive answers)

There will then be an 8-minute Q & A session following the presentation. Judges will grade whether or not each topic that is addressed favors success, and will again grade teams on a 4-point scale. After the scores are tallied, concept paper grades will then be taken into account and will carry 50% of the entire score. Teams with the highest score will receive the award.




All UC Irvine Graduate and Undergraduate students are invited to participate in the New Venture Competition. Teams are required to have at least three (3) total members, two of whom must be registered UC Irvine Students*.

* A “registered student” is defined as a bona fide student registered at UC Irvine for at least two (2) quarters during the 16-17 academic year.

Frequently Asked Questions:

    May teams include any non-UC Irvine student members?

Yes, once the team is organized by at least two UC Irvine students, any number of non-UCI students may participate as Auxiliary Members of the team. Auxiliary Members are required to be present with their team during The Competition Finals and Awards event, with no exception.

    What is an “Undergraduate Team”?

An undergraduate team is defined as a team in which all team members are current undergraduate students, including any Auxiliary Members. Undergraduate teams may compete for all Campus Wide Division Awards, as well as for all Undergraduate Division Awards.

    How can I attract more team members?

Please contact Hannah Thompson at


3. Business Plan/Idea BACK TO TOP MENU

Teams must present an original idea for a company which may not have been in existence prior to January 2016. Teams must be in pre-incubator form and must not have received financial backing by professional third-party accelerators, incubators, existing companies or venture capitalists in an amount greater than $10,000.

All business concepts must be created by the participant/team who has registered for the competition.

4. Judging Guidelines BACK TO TOP MENU
Our judges are professionals who come from various business backgrounds and include experienced investors, entrepreneurs, and senior business practitioners who interact with early stage companies. Each judge is an expert in the process of starting a business. The judges consider specific criteria when evaluating concept papers and pitch decks, however, ultimately, winning teams are those in which the judges would most likely invest their own money. This decision is influenced heavily by several factors, including:

1.    Size and growth rate of the market addressed;
2.    Likelihood that the team can create a sustainable competitive advantage;
3.    Simplicity of the business model described; and
4.    Believability of the team’s vision and plan.

Specifically, judges will evaluate each semi-finalist team on the strength of their plan and overall presentation, often this wll include criteria such as:
Quality of Business Environment Assessment and Model Design
  • Executive Summary & Company Overview
  • Products or Services
  • Market Need
  • Market Potential for Product or Service
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Management
  • Financial Forecasts
Impact of Presentation
  • Communication of Evidence of a Market
  • Communication of Evidence of Ability to Execute
  • Commnication of Evidence of a Return on Investment

Judges' Assessment of Scalability/Investment Potential

5. Award Divisions BACK TO TOP MENU

Teams will enter into 1 of 4 competition tracks based on the nature of their business idea.

  • Consumer Products: Concepts focused on a tangible product that could be used by a person or a household for non-business purposes.
  • Consumer Services: Concepts related to a range of services provided to consumers of a product that produces, markets or supports the product.
  • Business Products/Services: Concepts related to a range of products or services that supports businesses.
  • Life Sciences: Ideas related to medical devices, instrumentation, biotechnology, therapeutics and diagnostics.

Teams will compete against other teams within their specific track for the following prizes:

  • Grand Prize -- $15,000 cash plus in-kind awards (one grand prize winner will be selected)
  • First place -- $10,000 cash plus in-kind (one first place award for each track
  • Second Place-- $5,000 cash (one second place award for each track)


6. Special Awards BACK TO TOP MENU

Designing Solutions for Poverty: Awarded by the Blum Center. Up to $10,000 in cash awarded to interdisciplinary ideas addressing poverty-related problems in areas of housing, health, food, development, and others. Presentations for this award will be held Monday May, 2. For more information, please contact

Undergraduate Honorable Mention: $1000 award to be given to one undergraduate team in each track at the judges' discretion.


School of Medicine Award: The School of Medicine (SOMA) sponsored specialty award is provided in effort to encourage the transformation of knowledge into the next generation of life saving medical technologies. To qualify teams must either (1) use School of Medicine IP, (2) have a School of Medicine student on their team, or (3) have a School of Medicine faculty member on their team. The award provides an unrestricted cash prize of $1,000.00 payable based on the materials submitted to the BPC, and $9,000.00 in follow-on project Milestone based prizes.


Tech Surge Award: Teams that utilize UC Irvine Intellectual Property as a part of their business plan are eligible for the Tech Surge Award. The Tech Surge Award consists of up to 3 $5000 awards given out to teams who use UCI IP, of which $3500 is awarded directly to the team and $1500 goes to the lab where the IP originated. Presentations for this award will be held Monday May, 2. For more information and to participate, please contact Doug Crawford at Also, here are some frequently asked questions.


For a full list of available Tech Surge IP, see below.

7. Tech Surge Award BACK TO TOP MENU


2015-408      Spriroidolinones and Their Uses

2015-664-1   Plastic Antibodies for Neutralizing Venom         
2015-779      Immunotherapy for Cancer       
2007-533-3   Plastic Antibodies 
Medical Devices    
2014-615     Green-Field In-Plane Ultrasound Needle Guide       
2012-203     Implantable Device for Treating Diabetes        
2014-927     Implantable Wireless Oxygen Biosensor for Implanted Devices           
2015-784-1   Spinodal-Based Co-Continuous Composites For High Performance Battery Electrodes                     
2012-130      Thermal Devices for Controlling Heat Tansfer          
2001-446      A Hydrogen Gas Sensor  
Life Sciences         
2015-519-1   Metal-Free Affinity Media/Agents For The Selective Capture Of Histiidine-Rich Peptide Sequences    
Social Media           
2015-142-1   Smart Nail Polish



8. Competition Registration BACK TO TOP MENU

Registration details will be announced shortly. In the meantime, please register for the New Venture Competition Kickoff Event on November 9, 2016.


9. Competition Calendar BACK TO TOP MENU
November 9, 2016 p.m.
2017 Beall New Venture Competition Kick-Off
Merage School Auditorium
4293 Pereira Drive. Irvine, CA 92617

10. Resources for Participants BACK TO TOP MENU

There will be numerous resources available to the teams throughout the competition. They are as follows:

  • Reading materials on this site
  • Links to various websites and online publications
  • Guidelines on what is expected in the concept paper and final business plans
  • Workshops on the key elements of a business plan will be offered from January through April
  • Team coaches for teams selected for Phase II

Resource Center