The holidays are around the corner, and that means a chance to step back from the daily grind and recharge. Enjoy the time you have with those you cherish, and keep developing your business ideas over the break. Remember to publicize your ideas on Ideator if you haven't already, and invite your team members! Mentors and investors can't find you if you're not public!

We're also going to be taking some time off; our office will be closed beginning December 23rd and will reopen on January 3, 2017. Otherwise, the ANTrepreneur Center is open during regular hours during this unusually long winter break. When the new year starts, be on the lookout for announcements on  our panel of female entrepreneurs at GirlBoss, our second annual Launchpad Lunacy competition, and lots of support for the Merage New Venture Competition and the Beall and Butterworth Competitions !

For more entrepreneurial events, check out the news below. 

Happy holidays!

UCI ANTrepreneur Center
Inside the ANTrepreneur Center
Come to the FastFWD Awards Ceremony Tonight! (RSVP here!) 
Michael Griego presents the business model of his team, WeTail, selling from brick and mortar retailers to direct consumers to larger retailers.
by Zejin Guo

The FastFWD Competition is the first annual startup contest held by the MORE Foundation, aiming to bring UCI students and members of Orange County business community together, through competing in the commercialization of existing intellectual property, to learn entrepreneurial skills.

After forming teams and attending workshops over the past few weeks, competitors presented their plans to implement augmented reality software on Wednesday, November 17. Their projects, all containing different aspects of the service industry, required the use of a visual planogram, which facilitates and simplifies customers' purchasing behaviors.

The six projects covered areas such as restaurant applications, automobile selling, seasonally fresh food supply, retail, online shopping, and environmental protection. Each presentation included the introduction of each team's software, market opportunities, business models, and financial projections.  The judges asked each team about the practicality of the team's software application and how it could compete with already existing implementations.

Zephyr team's Tuva Atasever introduces its software application to the judges.
The competitors cherished what they learned from the process. "The competition makes us able to see and to work with a lot of people from different backgrounds and experiences," Michael Griego, a UCI Business Administration major, said. "I learned to be more time efficient, since we have time limitation with team members' different time schedules."

The awards ceremony for the FastFwd Competition will be held at The Cove tonight, starting at 6:30pm. The FastFWD Competition is sponsored by the ANTrepreneur Center, Applied Innovation, and the MORE Foundation. RSVP here
Calling All Undergraduates: Winter Entrepreneurship Class Filling Up!

Want to earn class credits while learning all about the basics of entrepreneurship?Introduction to Entrepreneurship (Social Science 189) is now open for registration. There are no prerequisites for this fun, engaging and inspiring class and it counts toward the new Certificate in Entrepreneurship through the School of Social Sciences. Every major is allowed! Last year the class filled up quickly so don't delay. Enroll now! 
Start Your Week 
with Mixer Mondays

Mixer Monday is the place to go when you need to develop your ideas, want to find team members, or to simply meet people! And what better way is there to meet people while eating free pizza? This event is a great chance to grow your network and to test business ideas with others. Somedays we chat in a circle about our startups. Other days we practice our pitching with a game called "Half Baked". Everyone writes a few words on a board and selects two of those random words. Then, someone has to pitch a startup inspired by those two words. Check out an example from Breanna, our Assistant Director, below.
New Venture Competition
Now Underway! 

The 2017 Beall New Venture Competition aims to provide experience to initiate and develop a business. The winning teams will be be awarded more $100,000 in cash and in-kinds awards! Several workshops covering a broad area of startup development skills will be held over the next few months, presented by experts and NVC judges, in order to provide support for teams.

The "Assessing the Market" workshop was presented on November 15, 2016, by Ray Chan and Amir Banifatemi, founders of K5 Ventures . The duo of the early- and mid- stage lab and funding platform introduced how to assess the market based on their backgrounds and experiences, and the information they shared helped students taking their first basic step of their business projects.  More networking events, mixers, and workshops will be held in 2017 winter quarter.

If you are interested, please visit 
the competition website for more information.

Visit Our Weekly Events!

Gather 'Round for a Night of ANTsgiving
by Will Khaine

What does the 28th child of a family, lover of pets, student with an emphasis in Mandarin, and marketing guru have in common? They are all leaders of nonprofit organizations, and the panelists of last Tuesday night's ANTsgiving.

Lydia Natoolo , Kelly Reeves , Shea Rouda , and Jerri Rosen gathered with approximately 50 other entrepreneurs and students in The Cove's Screening Room to share their experiences about starting a 501(c) organization. Although all four underscored a need for passion, each panelist provided their own focus on establishing and developing nonprofits, and how to connect their actions back to those in need.

"A nonprofit is literally a business in its own sector," Lydia Natoolo, a UCI Biological Sciences major, summarized.  She shared how her own firm, Love a Community , also depended on communities to grow. With various projects underway, such as providing clean water and medical supplies for rural Ugandan villages, tapping into the hearts and minds of people become all the more necessary.

A similar idea was expressed by Kelly Reeves, the president of Paw Prints in the Sand Animal Rescue, Inc. With a background in business, "I would go to clients and former clients and say, 'I'm starting this nonprofit', and some of them jumped right on board," she stated. Tapping into an existing business network enabled her to rapidly develop her organization.

Wh ile Shea Rouda, a USC fourth-year, is still waiting for his nonprofit paperwork to be approved, he explained how Drops was born. Beer kegs were bought at the end of each month if he and his friends raised enough spare change by rounding all of their purchases up to the nearest dollar; if not, the sum would go to charity. Shea realized that a far better idea was to funnel that money entirely towards helping the needy.

Shea, a major in Eastern Asian Languages and Cultures, described the necessity of taking advantage of resources open to students, including funding his nonprofit through placing at pitch competitions and reducing cost through legal services offered on the USC campus. (UCI has similar resources - visit the ANTrepreneur Center to learn more).

And as CEO of Working Wardrobes, Jerri Rosen emphasized the need to overcome financial and practical challenges to ensure a nonprofit's sustainability.

"There are over 1 million nonprofits in this country," she stated. "In Orange County there are over 11,000 nonprofit organizations. There are roughly 3,000 that are financially sustainable; that means that they're bringing in over half a million dollars a year or more."

Given these difficulties, Jerri recommends that the best step to start a nonprofit is to volunteer time to one.

Not all of the nonprofit leaders' advice could be stuffed into this article. For more, watch the first half hour of the ANTsigiving panel.
Diving Deep to Turn Data into Knowledge
Samta Varia, founder of ShaadiShop, has footed herself in an increasingly growing industry. Photo courtesy of Samta.
UCI alumna, Samta Varia, founded ShaadiShop - a marketplace for couples to find and book South Asian-friendly wedding venues throughout Southern California. South Asian weddings are multi-day celebrations and have several nuances such as incorporating an elephant or a horse, open flame, Indian food and of course, hundreds of guests. Not all venues can accommodate these large, colorful weddings and until ShaadiShop, the only way to find out which ones could, was to call each one-by-one.

"I got the idea for ShaadiShop while I was planning my own wedding," the 2002 International Studies (and Management minor), explained. "There weren't a lot of online resources where couples could get more than just decor and clothing inspiration, and there weren't a lot of of resources for South Asian weddings."

Despite the misconception that tailoring services to a region creates a restricted revenue flow, the South Asian wedding industry is exploding. This year the market's worth exceeded five billion dollars, and South Asians are the fastest growing ethnic group in the country, according to comparisons between the 2000 and 2010 Census . Samta started the company with venues in Orange County and has expanded from Bakersfield to San Diego.

After graduating from UCI, Samta owned and managed a direct marketing agency for 14 years. In 2011, she joined the MBA program at the USC Marshall School of Business, which was the perfect place to do market research for ShaadiShop. She laid the groundwork for the startup by immersing herself into the industry - cold calling consumers and hospitality executives alike, to gain insight and test her idea. While at UCI, Samta was in the UCDC program at a Westin hotel. Industry knowledge she gained in that program proved useful years later.

At the core of a successful entrepreneur, Samta believes that one must have faith in his or her mission, and that the startup life is much like an adventure: regardless of a lack of well defined paths, constantly changing elements, and stepping outside of comfort zones, one should charge forward and enjoy the experience.

"Smarts and luck are factors when founding a company, but perseverance, commitment to your mission, and continuous learning are vital as well," she reflected. But most of all, the pool of information, ready for the taking, requires grit and the skill to dive in, so that data may be turned into knowledge and insight.

Want to meet Samta? She'll be a panelist at our event GirlBoss and a mentor to our ANTrepreneurs. Visit ShaadiShop and follow its blog and other social media  to learn more.
More Firewood for the Firm
Tips for Balancing School and the Startup Dream
by Zejin Guo

Nowadays, there is an increasing number of young entrepreneurs eager to launch their own startups. College students are a group of those youngsters. Continuous learning while balancing school and a startup should be the key factor for college students who
Can you get in the middle?
aspire to achieve success. Here are some tips that may help:

First, set up a reasonable timetable when accomplishing multiple tasks. 
  • Avoid taking on more than you can handle; find someone, such as local business partners and classmates, to help you with tasks.
  • Use tools, such as iPhone's electronic calendars, to remind you when to work on school and your startup.
Second, use spare time wisely to learn professional business skills.
  • Attend business competitions with others who are more experienced and interested in building startups. 
  • Read professional business textbooks. 

Third, utilize school resources effectively to make connections to people who can provide you support.

  • Visit the ANTrepreneur Center (we're open during Winter Break!) 

  • Pursue business courses; you'll learn related skills and get to know your professors. They may provide suggestions when building a startup!

Hubert's Travels!
This month, Hubert is spending time with his family in New York. We offer this picture of our Executive Director as an alternative.

Internship Opportunities: Get Stoked
Mobile Phone Developer Needed at MindFull

We are looking for a committed, talented, and visionary iOS or Android developer to join our team at MindFull. 

We are an energized startup that has developed a mobile, evidence-based app for managing mood, connecting people, and alleviating symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. MindFull is already on the App Store and Google Play; this individual, if accepted, will join the core team with equity, revenue benefits, access to our multifaceted network of grants, business conferences and pitch competitions, as well as MD/MBA students, physicians, and entrepreneurial advisors.

Commitment is VERY flexible; however, efficiency, accountability and follow/up are a MUST. Email Ramin Rajaii, MD/MBA student, CEO of MindFull Technologies at , if i nterested.
Gifts Ahead: Startup Presence in the O.C.
A Lunch & Learn Perfect for Early Stage Startups!  

A previous Lunch & Learn with Michael Boehm, Wallace Walrod, and Scott Kitcher.
The Lunch & Learn event is an opportunity for EiRs (Experts-in-Residence) to converse with startup teams at The Cove.

This Friday , December 2, Jerry Kornblau will review tips and tricks to help start-ups: quantify the potential market for a product, research prospective customers, determine their likelihood to buy, and set the optimal price. This lunch and learn is especially great for early stage startups looking to make a calculated jump into the market.

Equipped with years of strategic planning, market research, marketing, and business development, Jerry is the President and co-founder of Korsan Management Services. He's the "Explorer Scout" for his clients, addressing their critical issues and helping to build their businesses. Applying his specialities, such as helping clients quantify their market opportunities, Jerry has helped large companies and startups across 25 industries to launch new businesses and grow more effectively.

If you're interested, RSVP by December 2 at 12:00. Check-in happens at 11:30 at The Cove; see you there!
End the Year with New Venture Competition's Tech Surge Mixer! 

Before the Beall New Venture Competition goes into high gear, get to know potential contestants. The Tech Surge Mixer will be held at The Cove tonight  from 5:30-7:00pm.  Come learn about the UC intellectual property that is available for competing teams eligible for the Tech Surge and  School of Medicine NVC tracks. While you're there, spark ideas, network,  and meet potential teammates!

Check-in and registration opens at 5:15 pm. A presentation describing the IP begins at 5:45 pm, with networking and informal team pitches to follow.

Direct all questions in a join email to Doug Crawford, Senior Licensing Officer , and Hayley Young, New Ventures Program Coordinator. Don't forget to RSVP, and hope to see you there! 
VentureWell Competition Starting in 2017!
VentureWell is a higher education network that helps to launch new ventures by providing support, training, and access to networks for science and technology innovators on college campuses. 

VentureWell's E-Team program provides early-stage funding of up to $25,000 and cultivates opportunities for student STEM inventors and innovators to move ideas out of the lab and into the market.  The multi-stage program provides grant funding, immersive workshops, and coaching to help student teams realize their projects' full commercial potential.
The application deadline to participate in the spring cohort is January 25 Learn about our past E-Team grantees and their innovations  here Detailed guidelines are  here  and FAQ  here.
Mark your Calendars: December 2016

Sunday Monday Tuesday
Thursday Friday Saturday
Nov. 27 28 29


FastFwd Awards Ceremony at The Cove, 6:30-9:30 pm.

NVC Tech Surge Mixer at The Cove, 5:30-7pm. RSVP.
Dec. 1


Women's Leadership Summit
at 7:30am. RSVP.

Lunch & Learn at The Cove, 11:30am-1pm. RSVP.

4 5

BOE Non-Profit
and Emp-


1 Million Cups at The Cove. 7:45 am. RSVP.


UCI Winter
Break begins

Lunch & Learn at 
The Cove, 11:30am-1pm. 
11 12



1 Million Cups at The Cove . 7:45 am. RSVP.

16 17
18 19 20

1 Million Cups at The Cove . 7:45 am. RSVP.

Office closed

Christmas Day

Christmas Day (observed)

1 Million Cups at The Cove . 7:45 am. RSVP.

Office reopens Jan. 3

New Year's Eve

For additional entrepreneurial events throughout 
Los Angeles and Orange Counties, visit
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