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 ( REGISTER)
Workshop 7: How to Build a Winning Pitch Deck ( REGISTER)
April 17, 2019
Workshop 8: How to Pitch and Deal With Q&A ( REGISTER)
April 24, 2019
Bonus Workshop: How to Influence, Persuade, and Sell Anyone and Anything ( REGISTER)
May 1, 2019
PITCH DECKS DUE (11:59 pm)
May 10, 2019
Competition Finals Awards Ceremony and Reception ( REGISTER)
May 22, 2019
*All dates are subject to change
About the Competition
Team Formation Criteria
The UCI New Venture Competition is open to every UCI graduate and undergraduate student. Affiliation with the business school is not required.
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.
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!
Business Concept Criteria
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 can likely compete with the same idea this year.
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.
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
Tech Surge, sponsored by UCI Applied Innovation, is a specialty award track that offers extra prize money and support resources to eligible teams in order to encourage the commercialization of UCI-generated inventions. To be eligible, teams must use UCI IP as a core element of their business plan AND be participating in one or more of the following entrepreneurial/ translation related programs at UCI:
Wayfinder Incubator at UCI Applied Innovation (current / former participant or applicant)
i-Corps @ UCI (current / former participant)
POP Grants (current / former applicant or grantee)
Grad Slam (current / former participant)
Exception: nomination by Invention Transfer Group licensing officer
UCI intellectual property is defined as UCI-generated innovations that have an assigned case number or Record of Invention (ROI) on file with the Invention Transfer Group at UCI Applied Innovation. Participation must be pre-approved.
The 1st place winners of all six tracks (five verticals plus Tech Surge) will receive automatic acceptance to the Wayfinder Incubator program at UCI Applied Innovation for the C12 cycle (July-December 2019) to continue to develop their ventures post-competition. Teams must submit an application to Wayfinder by the corresponding application deadline in June in order to receive automatic acceptance. If the completed application is not received, this prize will be forfeited by the team missing the deadline. Visit the UCI Applied Innovation Wayfinder Incubator page for more information and to download the application.
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.
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 Wednesday, May 22, 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:
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.
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 Potential for Product or Service
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
Johnson Chuang Ariel Gabriel Ramin Mousavi Dr. Emanuel Shaoulian Numan Siddiqi
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