photo of a group of students holding a large check

Big Bang! Connect. Learn. Compete.

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

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

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

The Big Bang! 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 educational workshops, build your team, grow your network—and compete for cash prizes.

The 24th annual Big Bang! will award prizes for the competition's top innovation overall and for winning ventures in the following sectors:

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

RSVP for the Awards Ceremony!

Big Bang! Workshop Series

Big Bang! Rules and Tools

The Big Bang! allowed us to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs, potential investors and industry experts, expanding our network and opening doors to new opportunities. The feedback and guidance we received from mentors and judges were invaluable.
Akshaj Aravind Raghavi | MBA Candidate| CFO, SchedGo, 2023 Big Bang! winner

three young men showing their startup's website on a laptop
UC Davis computer science major Henry Yu (center) and MBA students Dillon Hill (left) and Akshaj Aravind Raghavi won the $20,000 top prize and the $10,000 People’s Choice Award in the 2023 Big Bang! Business Competition. SchedGo has created a platform to help college students navigate the path to graduation with greater efficiency and less stress. (Jose Luis Villegas/UC Davis)
Fast Facts
  • The Big Bang! Business Competition runs March through May.
  • The competition is designed for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs.
  • Our online Big Bang! 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.
  • Teams must have at least one founder affiliated with a California-based institution of higher education. 
  • Competition finalists compete for cash prizes.
  • You may participate in the Little Bang! Poster + Pitch Competition concurrent with the Big Bang! 
Nourish Your Entrepreneurial Mindset | Big Bang! Workshop Series
  • photo/image of outer space with text: Big Bang Workshops

The Big Bang! 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

Workshops are offered online, from 5 to 7 p.m. 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.

Big Bang! workshops are open, free of charge, to everyone.

 Discover the Big Bang! Workshop Series >

Put It into Practice: The Business Competition

The Big Bang! Business Competition runs from March to May and is held in conjunction with the Big Bang! 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
> 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 a California-based institution of higher education. Refer to the competition overview, eligibility and requirements on the Rules and Tools page for details.

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/DeadlineDate/TimeLink to RSVP / Details
    The Kickoff10.17.23 
    Optional Early Feedback Round
    (Round 0)
    Submit executive summary and team bios for feedback from experts in our network. 
    Final Registration Deadline
    (Round 1)
    Deliverables: executive summary and team bios

    Top teams advance to Round 2.
    Round 2 Submission Deadline (Semifinals)04.08.24
    Deliverables: customer call summary, video pitch and detailed pitch deck

    Top teams advance to Round 3.
    Dry Run Presentations (optional)04.29.24 
    4–8 p.m.
    Round 3 Submission Deadline (Finals)05.13.24
    Deliverables: additional customer call summary; presentation pitch deck
    Final Presentations and Judging05.15.24Finalist teams (in-person attendance required)
    24th Annual Big Bang! Awards Ceremony05.21.24Finalist teams (in-person attendance required)


Thank you, Big Bang! Sponsors

General sponsors of the Big Bang! Business Competition are Pam Marrone and Mick Rogers and the UC Davis College of Engineering. The Awards Ceremony is sponsored by Bow Capital. Click here to meet our prize sponsors.


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