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.
Those who have registered will be sent access links to Zoom workshop sessions and live Q&A session.
Dates and Deadlines
If you haven't had a chance to submit your Concept Paper yet but still want to be a part of the competition, don't worry! Join our friendly Discord community and let's explore some ideas together. We'd love to have you on board!
Stella Zhang New Venture Competition Kick-Off
Monday, November 7, 2022
Concept Papers Due
Sunday, March 12, 2023
Board Room Pitch
Friday, May 12, 2023
Grand Finale + Awards
Friday, May 25, 2023
*NVC workshops are found below. All dates are subjected to change
About the Competition
The UCI Stella Zhang 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 Board Room Pitch phase, you will be required to have a minimum number of 4 people on your team and at least 2 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 21-22 academic year.
Developing a robust and multi-talented team is essential to any new venture. Success in the Stella Zhang 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!
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. However, teams who won last year will not be able to compete with the same idea.
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 the business type. This has a direct impact on business formation and other early-stage considerations.
Teams compete in 1 of 5 tracks. The Stella Zhang New Venture Competition programming addresses unique considerations for each track. Teams also benefit by working with industry mentors and judges familiar with their type of business.
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 finalists will be receiving AWS (Amazon Web Services) credit to use to create their websites.
Semi-finalists will continue to develop their business concept. Semi-finalists will prepare a pitch deck and present it to a panel of judges. The Semi-Final Presentations will take place on May 12, 2023.
Teams present for 10 minutes followed by a 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 are updated, they will be sent to the teams prior to the pitch dates.)
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 3-minute pitch with a 5-minute Q&A from our esteemed judge panel will have the opportunity to win more prize money. Stay tuned for more information and updates.
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
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, Jenn Huynh.
"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.