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 five months. The competition is open to all UCI students, staff members and researchers as well as community members. Teams compete for more than $100,000 in prizes!

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.

Dates & Deadlines

Competition Kickoff and Beall Bash Networking Mixer ( REGISTER ) November 14, 2018
Workshop 1: Ideation and Brainstorming January 16, 2019
Workshop 2: From Problem to Solution January 23, 2019
Workshop 3: How to Write a Winning Concept Paper January 30, 2019
Workshop 4: Can You Make Money February 20, 2019
CONCEPT PAPERS DUE (11:59 pm) February 24, 2019
Semi-Finalist Teams Announced March 12, 2019
Workshop 5: Market Viability/Talking to Customers April 3, 2019
Workshop 6: Go to Market Strategy/Revenue Models April 10, 2019
Workshop 7: How to Build a Winning Pitch Deck April 17, 2019
Workshop 8: How to Pitch and Deal With Q&A April 24, 2019
PITCH DECKS DUE (11:59 pm) May 10, 2019
Competition Finals May 23, 2019

*All dates are subject to change

NVC Kickoff

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 17-18 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!

Form Your Team

  1. Team Formation Database – This is a digital resource to help you find teammates. Whether you have an idea and are recruiting team members or want to participate on any team, you need to be included here. Add yourself by filling out this form!
    Note: If we create an online community to communicate, would you use it? Which platform do you prefer? How else can we help you? Let us know by filling out the form!  
  2. Share information with your networks – Get your friends and classmates interested by inviting them to attend our events and add themselves to the database!
  3. Attend other events – The ANTrepreneur Center hosts daily events on campus which are excellent ways to meet people and gain new knowledge.
  4. The Beall Center is located at The Paul Merage School of Business (SB1) in 2300. Our office is a great location to meet with potential teammates on campus!

Business Concept Criteria

  1. Teams must present an original idea for a venture which may not have been in existence prior to March 1, 2016. 
    Note: Practice makes perfect. Teams who competed last year can likely 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

Competition Matrix

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.

All teams, regardless of track, are eligible to apply for the Tech Surge Specialty Award.

Tech Surge Specialty Award

Every team, regardless of track, may work with UCI Applied Innovation to develop a business that commercializes intellectual property developed at UCI.

Teams compete for an additional $25,000 in prize money and awards and receive automatic entry into the Wayfinder Incubator Program. This is an excellent opportunity to commercialize real inventions generated from UCI’s world-renown research while gaining access to the vast resources at UCI Applied Innovation including special workshops and hands-on mentoring!

Prizes are awarded to winners in two phases:

  1. An initial unrestricted cash prize to be distributed at the close of the competition 
  2. A restricted grant to be distributed upon completion of specific future milestones set forth by the respective granting entity and the individual team

For more information about Tech Surge, contact:
Hayley Young
Assistant Director, New Venture Group
UCI Applied Innovation


ROUND 1: The Concept Paper

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.

Concept papers are due by 11:59 pm on Sunday, February 24, 2019.

The UCI ANTrepreneur Center personally meets with every team to discuss judge feedback and deliver results on March 13 – 15, 2019.


ROUND 2: Pitch Deck and Presentation

Semi-finalists continue to develop their business concept. A pitch deck is prepared and is presented to a panel of judges. The Final Presentations will be hosted at the Merage School on Thursday, May 23, 2019.

Teams present for 12 minutes followed by an 8-minute Q & A session. Using a 5-point scale, judges grade team presentations on whether or not each topic that is addressed favors success.

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

Please consider the Judges Criteria when creating your pitch decks:

Example of a good pitch deck:

Competition Resources

Contact Us

General Information:

Beall Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Or stop by the Merage School SB1-2300

Tech Surge Specialty Award Information:
Hayley Young
Assistant Director, New Venture Group
UCI Applied Innovation

Sponsorship Inquires:
Breanna Hale

2017 - 2018 Competition Resources

2017-2018 Competition Kickoff

NVC Kickoff Presentation

Workshop 1: From Problem to Solution: Developing a Business Idea and Transforming it into a Business Model 

Larry Wilk, Lecturer, The Paul Merage School of Business

Congratulations on taking the first step of the journey every entrepreneur must start with!

We are including some helpful resources below to aid you in the process. Strategyer, the creator the Business Model Canvas, is a valuable resource and you may access additional tools from their website. One such tool is the Mission Model Canvas which may be helpful to anyone developing a social enterprise.

Larry Wilk also shares suggested reading materials on slide 65.

Workshop 2: Creating Your Winning Concept Paper

Dan Jenkins, Co-Founder & CEO, Monet Networks

NVC mentor and judge Dan Jenkins shared his tips for concept paper success during Workshop #2.

Marc Kelly, Managing Partner, Innovative Financial Consultants

Workshop 3: Financials

Marc Kelly shared his tips for including how to make money and metrics to include in your concept paper.


Dan Jenkins and Larry Wilk, NVC Judges

Workshop 4: Track Tips and Tricks

Dan Jenkins and Larry Wilk, NVC Judges

Workshop 5: Believable Financials that support your story

Workshop 6: How to Create a Winning Pitch Deck

Workshop 7: How to Pitch and Deal with Q&A

  • Larry Wilk, Lecturer, The Paul Merage School of Business
  • Dan Jenkins, Co-Founder and CEO, Monet Networks

Judging Criteria

Concept Paper Judging Criteria

Tech Surge Judging Criteria

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
  • Commnication of Evidence of a Return on Investment

Judges' Assessment of Scalability/Investment Potential

Campus Resources

Tech Surge Resources

Past Competition Resources


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.