Innovation & Poverty

Innovation and entrepreneurship present powerful opportunities to combat poverty. Students, faculty, and community members have opportunities to submit innovative ideas to two competitions: the UC-wide Big Ideas Contest and the UCI New Venture Competition.

Information sessions for both competitions are being offered in October and November 2017.

Big Ideas

Big Ideas is an annual UC-wide social innovation contest that targets early stage social impact projects. Big Ideas provides you with access to funding, up to $10,000 with additional funding opportunities to $7,500. By encouraging novel proposals and then supporting concrete next steps, Big Ideas is helping contest winners make an impact all over the world. Besides funding, opportunities include skills development, access to expertise, and exposure and validation. Learn more about the contest, online information sessions, timeline, and eligibility HERE.

Pre-proposals for this year’s competition are due Wednesday, November 15, 2017.

Special advising opportunity on Monday, October 23: Big Ideas staff will be on campus to meet with students and provide advising. Starts at 3:00 p.m. at the Beall Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (School of Business 1 Suite 2300; building 222 on the campus map).

Information sessions are being offered at UCI every Monday and Tuesday through November 15th. Sessions start at 3:00 p.m. in the Beall Center.

For more information, contact the UCI Innovation Ambassador Aleeha Kalam at


New Venture Competition – Social Enterprise Track

The New Venture Competition (NVC) at the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers all UC Irvine students, staff, and researchers the opportunity to form a team, create a startup and potentially fund their idea all within six months. Teams compete for more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind awards.

The Social Enterprise Track builds upon the success of the Designing Solutions for Poverty Competition and will accept innovative proposals with the capacity to be applied to a real world, poverty-related problem, in areas such as financial inclusion, energy, water, health, and services.

The 2018 Competition Kickoff is taking place on Wednesday, November 8th. Learn more and RSVP online HERE.

Learn more about the contest, timeline, and how to apply HERE.