StarBio 2020 Big Bang! winner founders wearing lab coats, smiling while holding large award checks outdoors on grassy hills

Big Bang! Connect. Learn. Compete.

The Big Bang! Business Competition provides a forum for innovators across California to collaborate, develop and test business ideas.

These challenging times call on us to create new solutions to our world's complex problems. 

two women students looking at a laptop in a library with other students around them

Grow your venture.

Join the UC Davis StartupTree community to learn about events, competitions, resources and programs on campus and beyond to help you launch your entrepreneurial journey and grow your venture.

Leadership Skills

Even if you don't want to become an entrepreneur, participating in the Big Bang! competition and our Ideas into Action workshop series will give you powerful leadership skills to help you succeed in whatever career path you chose.

You'll learn to:

  • Solve complex problems
  • Be a part of and effectively lead cross-functional and cross-cultural teams
  • Make connections and build your network
  • Thrive in challenging and uncertain times

The Big Bang! Business Competition helps you to grow as an entrepreneur and as a leader. You'll find opportunities to connect with fellow innovators, learn and apply business concepts in interactive educational workshops, build your team, grow your network—and compete for cash prizes.

The 23rd annual Big Bang! will award prizes for the competition's top innovation overall and the People's Choice favorite, and for winning ventures in the following sectors:

  • Animal Health + Industry
  • Education + Educational Tools
  • Energy + Sustainability
  • Food + Agriculture 
  • Human Health + Industry
  • Social Entrepreneurship

Find Your Teammates

Fast Facts
  • The Big Bang! runs January through May.
  • The competition is designed for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs.
  • Our Ideas into Action Workshop Series is a powerful complement to the business competition. Build your skillset, grow your network.
  • You don’t have to enter the competition to participate in the workshops, which are free and open to everyone.
  • Teams must have at least one founder affiliated with an institution of higher education in California. 
  • Competition finalists compete for cash prizes.
  • You may participate in the Little Bang! Poster + Pitch Competition concurrent with the Big Bang! 

Meet the 2022 Big Bang! Winners

As a researcher, I have always considered technical and engineering points of view in all projects. The Big Bang! competition helped develop the business perspective in my ventures.
—Kourosh Vali | Ph.D. Candidate, Computer Engineering 

Photo of two grad students with prototype of a medical device
UC Davis doctoral candidate Kourosh Vali and Regina Hoang MBA 22 led Storx Technologies to the $20,000 First Place Award in the 2022 Big Bang! Business Competition. Storx' innovation: a novel fetal monitoring system.
  • Nourish Your Entrepreneurial Mindset | Ideas into Action Workshop Series
  • composite image of a butterfly alighting a lightbulb against a deep blue starry night sky
    The Ideas into Action Workshops Series will give you the knowledge and skills you need to move from concept to company—and to effectively compete in the Big Bang! Business Competition. You'll learn to:

    > Define your problem and solution
    > Develop an elevator pitch
    > Evaluate the potential market
    > Develop a business model
    > Create a pitch presentation
    > Write a business summary

    Join us to grow through discussions, collaborative activities, and the energy and experience of meeting fellow innovators from across the UC Davis campus and throughout California. While participation in the workshops is not required to enter the Big Bang! competition, we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to grow your entrepreneurial skillset and your network—and to help your venture thrive.

    Ideas into Action workshops are open, free of charge, to everyone.

     Discover the Ideas into Action Workshop Series >
  • Put It into Practice: The Business Competition
  • illustration of a rocket ship in a bright blue sky with sun and clouds and text

    The Big Bang! Business Competition runs from October to May and is held in conjunction with the Ideas into Action Workshop Series.

    Events and competition deadlines are noted below. The Big Bang! culminates with the annual Awards Ceremony, where we announce the winners and award prizes in the following categories:

    > Top innovation in the competition
    > People's Choice
    > Animal Health + Industry Sector
    > Education + Educational Tools Sector
    > Energy + Sustainability Sector
    > Food + Agriculture Sector
    > Human Health + Industry Sector
    > Social Entrepreneurship Sector

    To participate in the Big Bang! Business Competition, at least one of your team or venture's founders must be affiliated with an institution of higher education within the State of California. Refer to competition guidelines on the competition’s Rules and Tools page for details.

    For Big Bang! details and specifics, please download the Competition Overview and Guidelines.

    All Big Bang! teams must register and submit deliverables through the competition platform, StartupTree, by the designated deadlines. We cannot accept emailed submissions.

  • Ready. Set. Go. | Big Bang! Events and Timeline
    • Note: All Big Bang! teams must register and submit deliverables through the Startup Tree platform by the designated deadlines. We cannot accept emailed submissions.
    • Event/Deadline Date/Time Link to RSVP / Details

      The Kickoff

      Early Registration Deadline
      (Round 0)
      Optional: Submit executive summary and team bios for feedback from experts in our network.
      Final Registration Deadline
      (Round 1)

      Deliverables: executive summary and team bios

      Notification sent to teams advancing to Round 2 03.23.23


      Round 2 Submission Deadline 04.06.23

      Deliverables: customer call summary, video pitch and detailed pitch deck

      Notification sent to teams advancing to Round 3



      Dry Run Presentations (optional)

      4–8 p.m.


      Round 3 Submission Deadline 05.15.23

      Deliverables: additional customer call summary; presentation pitch deck

      Final Presentations and Judging 05.17.23 Finalist teams (in-person attendance required)
      23rd Annual Big Bang! and Little Bang! Awards Ceremony 05.23.23

      Finalist teams (in-person attendance required)



students in a field holding various produce created a web-based service and mobile app that addresses the underlying causes of household food waste: forgetting already purchased foods, and not knowing how to cook them.

    “It’s amazing to see how far our teams can go. In October many of their ideas are just that: ideas. By May, with a ton of hard work, support and mentorship, many of these ideas are ready for prime-time as companies, licensed technologies or nonprofits.

    —Professor Andrew Hargadon