UC Entrepreneurship Academy

4 students doing marshmallow challenge

Spring 2021

The UC Entrepreneurship Academy helps students, postdocs and faculty in all academic disciplines and fields gain the knowledge and networks needed to identify, develop and validate the commercial potential of your research or idea.


The UC Entrepreneurship Academy offers:

  • An opportunity to explore and communicate the market opportunities of your research and ideas.
  • Hands-on workshops to guide you through the steps necessary to address the technical, business and market validation of your idea.
  • Lectures, discussions and interactive activities led by UC Davis faculty and leading investors, industry executives and entrepreneurs.
  • Mentoring sessions to focus your approach and hone your pitch.
  • Develop a network of professionals who can help mentor and connect you as you move forward with your career or new venture.

Sponsored by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Innovation Institute for Food and Health.

UC Entrepreneurship Academy Ipek Bahceci sitting on a chair in a dark room with sunlight
İpek T. Bahçeci | Ph.D. Candidate | Political Science

Entrepreneurship is a mindset, or a transferrable skill, that can improve all existing practices, including our own lives. I learned that facing and reducing uncertainties efficiently and effectively at each step is key to ongoing development.


The October 2020 academy will take place as a Zoom webinar, with lectures, talks by guest entrepreneurs and industry experts, and individual and small-group activities from 8:30 a.m. to noon. On Tuesday through Thursday, there is also an evening session. 

Although we will be meeting virtually, log in prepared to engage and grow through discussions, teamwork, and the energy and experience of meeting fellow Aggie Innovators from across campus.


Joe DiNunzio is the executive director of the UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and an assistant adjunct professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. He is a senior executive with three decades of creative, technical and business leadership creating new ventures and building successful organizations.

The academy also features sessions with guest entrepreneurs and other business leaders and industry experts.

UC Entrepreneurship Academy Amir Bolandparvaz in the lab wearing ppe using a pipette in a fumehood
Amir Bolandparvaz | Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering 20 | MBA 20

Implementing an idea is just the beginning of building a successful company. Establishing connections, building teams and persistently pushing forward are instrumental in growing a company. 

  • The academy is open to UC Davis upper-division undergrads, graduate students (master's and doctoral), postdocs and faculty in all fields.

    There is no charge for UC Davis participants to attend the academy.

    Non-UC Davis participants may be accepted into the academy by exception only. If you are interested in attending, click here to arrange a time to discuss your candidacy.

    Questions? Please contact senior program manager Niki Peterson

  • DAY 1
    Time Session
    8:30 a.m. Introduction and Course Overview
    9:10 a.m. Innovation Exercise and Making Toast
    10:00 a.m. Break
    10:20 a.m. On Innovation
    11:10 a.m. Making the Leap and Prep for Tomorrow
    DAY 2
    Time Session
    8:30 a.m. Innovation exercise and Eat RX
    9:20 a.m. Defining the Problem
    10:00 a.m. Break
    10:20 a.m. Intellectual Property: Guest Talk
    11:10 a.m. Elevator Pitches: An Introduction and Prep for Tonight
    6:00 p.m. Guest Entrepreneur(s)
    DAY 3
    Time Session
    8:30 a.m. Innovation Exercise: Elevator Pitch
    9:15 a.m. Market Validation
    10:00 a.m. Break
    10:20 a.m. Business Validation
    11:05 a.m. Technology Validation
    11:50 a.m. Prep for Mentoring
    6:00 p.m. Mentoring Session and Share your Pitch!
    DAY 4
    Time Session
    8:30 a.m. Innovation Exercise: Venture Canvas
    9:15 a.m. Legal Perspectives and Guest Speaker
    10:00 a.m. Break
    10:20 a.m. Team, Milestones, Resources
    11:10 a.m. Refining Your Pitch
    6:00 p.m. Guest Panel: Choosing Your Path
    DAY 5
    Time Session
    8:30 a.m. Innovation Exercise and LESA
    9:20 a.m. Networking Mindset
    10:00 a.m. Break
    10:20 a.m. Plenary Pitches and Guest Panel (optional)
    11:40 a.m.

    Next Steps and Closing

    Note: To obtain maximum benefit from the academy, we encourage participants to attend all sessions.

  • The academy will introduce you to the innovation and entrepreneurship landscape at UC Davis and beyond. You'll gain the tools to take your entrepreneurial experience to the next level.

    Big Bang! Business Competition
    Little Bang! Poster Competitions

    Visit the Davis Entrepreneurship Network website for a complete list of related events, resources and other opportunities at UC Davis.

  • An integral part of the academy experience is the opportunity for participants to engage with industry professionals. If you are interested in serving as a mentor for participants at this academy—and/or at one of our other entrepreneurship academies—please click here >