New Venture Competition


Calling All Creators, Inventors, and Aspiring Entrepreneurs! The UCI New Venture Competition offers you the opportunity to form a team, launch a startup and potentially fund a business idea – all within seven months. The competition is open to all UCI students, staff members and researchers as well as community members. Teams compete for $100,000 in cash prizes plus additional professional services!

Competitors have full control and ownership over what their team creates. We connect you with potential teammates, provide you with the tools to transform your idea into a concept, and even match teams with industry mentors to help you develop your concept into a viable business.

Please register for the workshops that you would like to attend. Those who have registered will be sent access links to Zoom workshop sessions and live Q&A session.

Dates and Deadlines

Kickoff - NVC Kickoff Video January 13, 2021
Workshop 1: How to Come Up With a Billion Dollar Idea
Workshop 1 Video
Workshop 1 Slides
Problem Finding Worksheet
January 20, 2021
Workshop 2: From Idea to Business
Workshop 2 Video
Workshop 2 Slides
Business Model Canvas
January 27, 2021
Elevator Pitch Submission OPENS January 31, 2021
Workshop 3: How to Write a Winning Concept Paper
Workshop 3 Video
Workshop 3 Slides
February 3, 2021
Workshop 4: How to Form a Winning Team
Workshop 4 Video
Contractor vs. Employee vs. Core
Team Addition Analysis
Team Subtraction Analysis
Team Charter
February 17, 2021

Workshop 5: Is There a Market for Your Product?
Workshop 5 Video
Workshop 5 Slides
Market Research Worksheet

February 24, 2021
Concept Papers & Videos Due February 28, 2021
Workshop 6: Demystifying Intellectual Property
Workshop 6 Video
Workshop 6 Slides
April 7, 2021
Workshop 7: How to Build a Winning Pitch Deck
Workshop 7 Video
Workshop 7 Slides
Pitch Deck Worksheet
April 14, 2021
Workshop 8: How to Make Money
Worksop 8 Video
Workshop 8 Slides
Workshop 8 Spreadsheets
April 21, 2021
Workshop 9: How to Go to Market
Workshop 9 Video
Workshop 9 Slides
April 28, 2021
Workshop 10: How to Pitch and Deal with Q&A (Tips & Tricks for Pitching Online)
Workshop 10 Video
Workshop 10 Slides
May 5, 2021
Board Room Pitches Day 1 May 13, 2021
Board Room Pitches Day 2 May 14, 2021
Ant Tank Finale
May 27, 2021

*All dates are subject to change

About the Competition

Team Formation Criteria

Team Rules
  1. The UCI New Venture Competition is open to every UCI graduate and undergraduate student. Affiliation with the business school is not required.
  2. To submit a concept paper, there is no team requirement, however, once teams make it to the Pitch Deck phase, you will be required to have a minimum number of four people on your team and at least two team members must be UCI students.
  3. At least 2 team members must be enrolled students at UCI. A registered student is defined as a bona fide student registered at UCI for at least two quarters during the 20-21 academic year.


Developing a robust and multi-talented team is essential to any new venture. Success in the New Venture Competition is no different. Reach beyond your classmates to form a team of many strengths and talents from across campus.

Don’t forget that only 2 team members must be enrolled at UCI. Consider recruiting UCI faculty, staff, alumni and others to your team!

Business Concept Criteria

  1. Teams must present an original idea for a venture which may not have been in existence for more than two years. 
    Note: Practice makes perfect. Teams who competed last year (but did not win a prize) can compete with the same idea this year.
  2. 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.
  3. All business concepts must be created by the participant/team who has registered for the competition.

Competition Tracks

NVC Competition Tracks

New ventures have unique considerations based on business type. This has a direct impact on business formation and other early-stage considerations.

Teams compete in 1 of 5 tracks. NVC programming addresses unique considerations for each track. Teams also benefit by working with industry mentors and judges familiar with their type of business.

Competition Prizes

The first and second place teams in each track at the Semi Final Board Room round will receive a cash prize. They will then advance to compete in the Grand Finale for a grand prize to be announced. Additional specialty prizes may be announced as well.

All teams who win first place in their track in the New Venture Competition will receive an automatic invitation to pre-screen for seed funding from Cove Fund II, LLC.

ROUND 1: The Concept Paper and Video Quick Pitch

Workshops 1 – 3 prepare teams to submit a 3-page concept paper, a document similar to an executive summary. Judges score the papers to determine the semi-finalists who will advance to the next round. 60 Second pitch videos will also be due along with your team’s concept paper to qualify you for the Wildcard round. We will be sharing examples of a quick pitch video shortly- stay tuned!

Concept papers are due by 11:59 a.m. on Sunday, February 28, 2021.

Concept Papers:
Sample 1
Sample 2
Sample 3

60-second Pitch Resources:

The Wildcard Round

Teams who do not score high enough marks on their concept paper to qualify for the semi-finals will still have a chance to stay in the competition through the Wildcard Round.This round is designed to identify great ideas and garner support.

Each team will submit a short 60-second video and concept paper on February 28. After the papers are scored and results are announced, teams who do not instantly advance will have the opportunity to compete for the highest number of votes on their videos. The top 1-3 teams who receive the most votes can re-enter the competition and compete in the Semi-Final Board Room round! We will be posting more rules and information shortly - stay tuned!

ROUND 2: Semi-Finals Board Room Pitches

Semi-finalists will continue to develop their business concept. Semi-finalists will prepare a pitch deck and present to a panel of judges. The Final Presentations will take place on May 13 and 14, 2021.

Teams present for 10 minutes followed by an 10-minute Q & A session. Using a five-point scale, judges will grade team presentations.

The highest scoring teams within each of the 5 tracks will receive awards. Additional awards may also be announced. 

Please consider the Judges Criteria when creating your pitch decks:

(Note: Criteria may be updated at any time. If the judging criteria is updated, it will be sent to the teams prior to the pitch dates.)

ROUND 3: Grand Finale Ant Tank

Returning this year is the exciting Grand Finale challenge! Teams who win first and second place in their tracks will not only walk away with their share of the prize money—but they will also compete head to head in a LIVE Shark-Tank-inspired quick-pitch for our Grand Finale! Teams who can WOW our judges and the audience in a quick three-minute pitch with a five-minute Q&A from our esteemed judge panel will have the opportunity to win more prize money. Stay tuned for more information and updates.

Competition Resources

Contact Us

General Information and Sponsorship Opportunities:

Breanna Hale

NVC Research

NVC Research: Top 5 Tips (3:27)
Introduction to the Entrepreneurship Research Guide and Top 5 Tips for Getting Started with your Research

NVC Research: Ideation & Business Models (2:59)
How to use library resources to help you generate ideas and begin building your business model

NVC Research: Industries and Markets, Market Validation, & Competitive Analysis (2:48)
How to use library resources to learn about your industries, markets, and competitors

We encourage all teams to schedule an appointment with our Innovation and Entrepreneurship Libraria, Sara Heimann, for your custom research support. You can book an appointment here.

2019-2020 Competition Resources

Workshop 1: How to Come Up With a Billion Dollar Idea

Workshop 2: From Idea to Business

Workshop 3: How to Write a Winning Concept Paper

Workshop 4: How to Form a Winning Team

Concept Papers and 60-second Pitch

Concept Papers:
Sample 1
Sample 2
Sample 3

60-second Pitch Resources:
"How to do a fast pitch" tips from Don Kasle, Chairman Emeritus of Tech Coast Angels
Book an appointment with Jaune Odombrown, ANTrepreneur Center Manager

Workshop 5: Is There a Market for Your Product?

Workshop 6: Demystifying Intellectual Property

Workshop 7: Financial Models and Valuation

Workshop 8: How to Build a Winning Pitch Deck

Workshop 9: How to Pitch and Deal with Q&A

Workshop 10: Tips & Tricks for Pitching Online

Judging Criteria

Concept Paper Judging Criteria

Business Products Services Judging Rubric

Consumer Products Judging Rubric

Consumer Services Judging Rubric

Life Sciences Judging Rubric

Social Enterprise Judging Rubric


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:

  • Size and growth rate of the market addressed
  • Likelihood that the team can create a sustainable competitive advantage
  • Simplicity of the business model described
  • Believability of the team’s vision and plan

Specifically, judges evaluate each semi-finalist team on the strength of their plan and overall presentation, often this includes 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
  • Communication of Evidence of a Return on Investment

Judges' Assessment of Scalability/Investment Potential

Campus Resources

ANTrepreneur Center

  • Schedule an appointment for coaching/guidance on your venture
  • Attend workshops
  • Network with other entrepreneurs and potential team members

Applied Innovation

  • Attend events
  • Network with other entrepreneurs and potential team members
  • Learn about the Wayfinder Incubator
  • Learn about additional mentorship opportunities


  • Learn how to design and prototype your product
  • Access to prototypic equipment and machines

UCI Innovation & Entrepreneurship Library

  • Conduct market, industry, and competitive research
  • Schedule an appointment for customized market research support

Sample Pitch Decks



New Venture Competition Sponsors

Become a Sponsor

Support This Program

The Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship strives to inspire innovation and entrepreneurship for the 21st century through all our events and activities. Support from the corporate community enables us to produce research and programs to empower future innovators and current business leaders. Support our vision by supporting this program.

Learn more about sponsorships by contacting, Breanna Hale.

"The New Venture Competition defined my college experience. It provided me with a platform to pursue my entrepreneurial ambitions, meet inspiring and talented people, and ultimately leave my mark at UCI." - Keene Do, UCI BA, Business Administration 2018, 1st Place NVC Winner: Social Enterprise Track in 2018

This entire competition is subject to the UCI Academic Integrity Policy as outlined in this link.