From October 5th through November 30th at the Cove, the UCI ANTrepreneur Center and the MORE Foundation brought the Orange County entrepreneur ecosystem together to participate in the inaugural Fast Forward Business Competition. The competition provided students at UCI and anyone from the local startup community a chance to form a team, develop a business plan using existing non-UCI intellectual property, and pitch to a panel of judges. The grand prize included an opportunity to negotiate a licensing agreement for use of the patent as well as a formed business entity. The judges for the competition included long-time entrepreneurs, executives, investors, and a representative from Nantworks which provided the IP.
On Friday, December 2nd, Applied Innovation hosted the UCI Career Center at the Cove for their event, Diversity and Recruiting in the 21st Century. The programming for the day centered on providing recruiters a chance to learn how to reach students with employment opportunities in light of the quickly changing recruitment landscape on college campuses.
GPS-BIOMED, an NIH-funded program for UCI graduate students and postdocs in the biomedical sciences, hosted their annual elevator pitch competition at the Cove on November 21st. The purpose of the event was to teach graduate students how to: communicate the broad implication of their work, publicize their cutting-edge research to the public, and tell their story in an authentic and engaging way. The competition also served the larger mission of the UCI Graduate Professional Success (UCI-GPS) Initiative which strives to help scientists for a variety of careers within the biomedical research workforce.
The Tech Surge Awards, sponsored by UCI Applied Innovation, is a separate and parallel track of the 2017 New Venture Competition (NVC) the encourages the translation of UCI-generated innovations. To qualify for the Tech Surge Track, participating teams must use UCI intellectual property (IP) as a core element of the venture it is entering into the NVC. Teams in this track will be competing for over $20,000 across four awards as well as for coveted automatic entry into a summer incubator program at The Cove at UCI Applied Innovation to pursue post-competition commercialization activity. Teams wishing to enter the Tech Surge Track must register with UCI Applied Innovation by no later than January 23, 2017, one week ahead of the Concept Paper submission deadline of January 30. Tech Surge teams will be giving separate pitches at a to-be-determined date in May. Winners will be announced at the NVC Awards Ceremony on May 12. Throughout the competition process, Tech Surge teams have an opportunity to work closely with UCI Applied Innovation staff to progress their venture and hone their competition materials. Also, Tech Surge teams will also have access to tailored mentorship experiences, special workshops, and other enrichment opportunities will be made available exclusively for Tech Surge participants.
On November 18th-20th, the community came together to participate in the second Startup Weekend OC this year. Held at the Cove, the event was jointly hosted by UCI Applied Innovation and The Vine OC. Additional community partners such as Techstars and Google for Entrepreneurs also helped make the event possible.
Velox Biosystems, a Cove Share startup founded on technology developed at UCI, is solving the problem of detecting bacteria in blood with a simple, fast, and unique approach. A UCI startup at its core, the innovative testing system was developed by Dr. Weian Zhao, a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, in collaboration with the Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics (LFD) on campus. News of the breakthrough included a feature in Nature Communications, a prominent science journal. The community responded favorably to the news, encouraging Dr. Zhao along with Dr. Chris Heylman, a postdoc working at the LFD, and Neto Sosa, a Ph.D. graduate student working in the Zhao Lab, to form a company and develop the technology further.
On Tuesday November 22nd, in honor of Thanksgiving UCI’s ANTrepreneur Center brought together a panel of non-profit founders to discuss their experiences in starting a nonprofit. They discussed their passion to help others and turned it into a reality.