October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

UC-Irvine New Venture Competition “Ant Tank” Competition

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

The 15th annual New Venture Competition (NVC), sporting $100,000 in prizes, will conclude virtually on May 21 from 3 p.m to 6 p/m PST. It is presented by the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The UCI Paul Merage School of Business. Following a record 114 concept submissions, 40 semi-finalists competed on May 8 for 1st and 2nd place in each of five tracks. Those 10 survivors will now compete for the Grand Prize in a three-minute fast pitch, facing a panel of distinguished judges from Orange County’s startup ecosystem.

“We are excited to provide this opportunity for the next generation of entrepreneurs to experience all facets of the startup process,” said Ken Neeld, Board Chair of the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (BCIE). “The NVC gives these innovators exposure to what they need to develop an idea into a viable business that is positioned to attract investment for the next phase of development.” Despite the COVID-19 setback, BCIE is committed to delivering educational excellence.

Many startup success stories begin with the NVC. For example, Swappit, a secure, authenticated mobile trading platform for pre-owned luxury streetwear, won in last year’s Consumer Services track and was recently admitted into EvoNexus’ selective incubator. Manny Tuli, Founder and CEO, said, “NVC and its mentor network creates a breeding ground for innovation, allowing ideas to flourish and take hold.”

For Sean White, Founder of Laser Associated Sciences and former Life Sciences winner, “UCI’s NVC was a critical step in forging a business plan that took our company from concept to acquisition. It was the catalyst for generating and refining an impactful pitch, essential for seeking funding and strategic partnerships. To this day, we still rely upon our NVC mentor for feedback and guidance.”

The New Venture Competition is supported by generous contributions from sponsors and mentors within Orange County’s startup ecosystem: Boeing, Experian, Ingram Micro, Stradling Law, Soka University, Genea, Cove Fund, Baker Hostetler, Gabriel Holdings, UCI Blum Center, EcoKMC Global Accelerator, Dr. Emanuel Shaoulian, Johnson Chuang, Matt Bailey, Fiza and Mansoor Shah, and Ken and Carla Neeld.

About the NVC: Due to high demand for entrepreneurial programs, the educational curriculum evolved from the Merage School “Business Plan Competition,” and now includes all UCI students, faculty, staff and alumni. The Beall Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, housed at UCI’s Paul Merage School of Business, is funded by the Beall Family Foundation and encompasses both the competition and recently launched the UCI Master of Innovation and Entrepreneurship program.

via UCI New Venture Competition “Ant Tank” Competition

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