Ideas into Action

Ready to make the leap into entrepreneurship? Gain the knowledge and skills you need to move from concept to company.

Leadership Skills

The Ideas into Action workshops will give you the knowledge and skills needed to move from concept to company—and to effectively compete in the annual UC Davis business competition.

The leadership experience you gain will 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 times

Learn to move your business idea forward in a series of eight innovation workshops presented by business and investment leaders. 

Our Ideas into Action workshops are designed for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs. They provide the knowledge and tools you'll need to create the deliverables needed to compete in the UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition—or pursue any other beginning entrepreneurial journey.

Get involved in the Big Bang!

We've incorporated opportunities for networking and business competition team formation into each workshop—as well as the chance to hear from "near peers"—recent Big Bang! winners.

All workshops meet from 6–8 p.m. and are free and open to the public. 

COVID-19 safety

We look forward to welcoming you to our community of Aggie Innovators!

Abstract giving hand with young plant in earth.
10.28.21 | Starting Something That Matters

Join Joe DiNunzio, executive director of the UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, for an introduction to the most important skill any innovator or entrepreneur needs: the ability to build a network around their ideas. Later in the workshop, Vicky Lee, a partner with DLA Piper's technology and sourcing group, will address the concept and concerns surrounding intellectual property (IP), often a new venture’s first tangible asset. 

Watch video: Starting Something That Matters

Watch video: Intellectual Property


person jumping between two cliffs with sunrise and clouds in the background
11.09.21 | Making the Leap

Are you ready to move your business idea from concept to reality? Join Graduate School of Management Professor Andrew Hargadon to learn how to clearly articulate the problem you are solving, your proposed solution and its value proposition. We’ll also discuss how to develop a foundation for thinking about moving your venture forward—and how to acquire the tools and network to do so effectively. 

Watch video: Making the Leap

Watch video: Defining the Problem and Solution


young man with orange hat sitting at desk with notebook
12.09.21 | Write to Win: Your Executive Summary

Join Ken Andersen and learn how to define your business in a concise and well-written executive summary. Ken is a continuing lecturer in the University Writing Program, where he teaches a variety of upper-division courses and serves as the assistant director for business writing.

Note: The two-page executive summary is a required deliverable in Round 1 of the UC Davis Big Bang! Business Competition.

Watch video


translucent screen with various startup icons; behind it is a man pointing at them
01.13.22 | Defining and Validating Your Business Model

A new venture’s business model defines how it brings together available technology, market and business opportunities, as well as how it plans to make money—and how much. Tim Keller, chief operating officer of Davis-based medical device startup AmCyt and top prize winner of the 2008 Big Bang! Business Competition, will discuss how to create a viable business model.

Watch video


very basic wooden figurines
01.27.22 | Your Customer, Your Market

Join Ben Finkelor, executive director of the UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute and special advisor to the California Energy Commission, to learn how to identify your market segment and customers and evaluate whether (and how much) they value your product, service or business solution. You’ll develop questions to ask a potential customer to better understand their needs—and experience a real-time customer call in action. 

Watch video


notebook computer screen with graphic
02.17.22 | Show Me the Money: Projecting and Presenting Financials

What do potential investors want to see? Tim Keller, chief operating officer of Davis-based medical device startup AmCyt and top prize winner of the 2008 Big Bang! Business Competition, will show you how to forecast and present your financials in a way that effectively demonstrates your understanding of the market and the value of your venture.

Watch video


woman with microphone pitching her startup with large graphic behind her
02.22.22 | Developing and Presenting Your Slide Deck

Whether you are starting a business, building a nonprofit or proposing a new idea to your boss, your presentation serves as your dynamic business plan for sharing your vision with potential team members, investors and stakeholders. Monique Brownco-founder and managing director at The Growth Factory and a partner at Growth Factory Ventures, will teach you how to create a compelling slide deck—and how to pitch like a pro. 

Note: This workshop includes a live pitch presentation and the opportunity to ask questions. 

Watch video: Developing Your Startup Slide Deck

Watch video: Pitching Like a Pro


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03.03.22 | Put Your Best Foot Forward
Marianne Skoczek, marketing and communications director at the UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, will discuss how to communicate effectively with the public, the media and your potential customers.