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UCR EPIC

The UCR EPIC International Incubation Challenge 

will support technology-based startup companies from Latin America that want to explore opportunities to commercialize their innovations in the US Market.  Six (6) LATAM startups will be selected to receive $100,000 in prizes ($40,000 in cash + $60,000 in expert mentoring support from UC Riverside + a trip to Riverside California for the winner).  Read the contest rules here (link), learn more about our international incubation services, and our office at UC Riverside.

Who should apply

Applicants must be founders or key members of a tech-based LATAM startup working on a field related to sustainability.

A. Applicants from the following areas are strongly encouraged to apply:

  • Agriculture technology and food security 
  • Renewable energy and renewable fuels 
  • Sustainable transportation and infrastructure 
  • Natural resource management 
  • Community health and health disparities 
  • Human Development

B. Applicant’s startup must have demonstrated performance of their technology in at least a working prototype and should have conducted customer validation in their home country.

C. Applicant’s technology must be protected through a patent filing or other type of intellectual property. Technology should be owned by the Startup, or should have been secured though a license or ownership agreement. 

D. Applicants must have developed a basic non-technical, non-confidential pitch deck presentation of their business.

E. Applicants must be associated with an incubator, accelerator, university technology transfer office or innovation program in their home country.

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FAQ's

  • What are the requirements to apply?
    • This contest is intended for Latin American early stage technology startup companies interested in expanding their market reach into the United States.

     

    • Your startup must have demonstrated performance of the technology in at least a working prototype and should have conducted customer validation in your home country.
    • Your technology must be protected through a patent filing or other type of intellectual property. Technology should be owned by the Startup, or should have been secured though a license or ownership agreement. 
    • You must have developed a basic non-technical, non-confidential pitch deck presentation of the business.
    • You must be associated with an incubator, accelerator, university technology transfer office or innovation program in your home country.
    • The application will require you to submit information about your team and the technology as well as to upload files covered in the next FAQ “How to Apply”
  • How to Apply
    • Before you start the application, you should prepare the submission materials in advance to avoid delays or interruptions while gathering everything together.
    • Selecting the “Apply Now” button on this page will take you to a survey website that gathers basic information about your company team, its core technology, and your development partners.  Part of the application requires you to upload two (2) different types of files with materials to be reviewed by UCR to decide who will be selected to present as a semi-finalist.
    • The files to upload must be in English and include a PDF-format copy of slides describing your company and business idea, as well as a MP4-format video presentation where at least one of your team members delivers the slide presentation.
    • Further details and requirements for these two files can be found in the next FAQ “What is required for the presentation materials?”
  • What is required for the presentation materials?
    • In addition to information about your team, the technology, and your development partners, your application will require copies of your slides and a short video pitch presentation of your slides, all of which must be provided in English.
    • A copy of the slides must be submitted in PDF-format (such as a PDF saved from PowerPoint) and saved as a single slide per page.  The slides will cover the following points similar to parts of a standard investor pitch deck and must not include any confidential information unless it is already protected such as by a patent application.  The presentation should not be more than 12 slidescovering the topics below: 
      1. State the team or company name, and what do you do 
      2. Describe the problem your technology tries to solve
      3. Describe how your company technology product or service addresses the problem in the prior slide. Tell us about your technology
      4. Describe the market size of the problem using some measurable quantity such as dollars of economic or social impact, or other important measures (i.e., such as lives or resources to be saved)
      5. Mention who is your customer or who benefits from your technology and why is it important to them (i.e., what is the value proposition?)
      6. Mention any similar or competing products in the market space, and state why your technology offers your customer a superior value proposition
      7. Describe how you will reach the market and build channels for distribution (mention current processes if any exist already)
      8. Describe stage of development of your technology and any Intellectual Property
      9. Briefly review the business model and financial projections (mention current sales if any exist already) in addition to saying why expanding into the United States market could be a benefit for your company
      10. Mention the backgrounds of key team members
      11. Summarize by stating again why your technology is important for what sort of customer segment
    • A video file no more than three (3) minutes in length involving at least one of your team members going through the slide presentation above must be submitted in MOV or MP4-format (maximum file size must be less than 100 MB)
  • What is the review process?
    • Applications must be submitted on this portal by January 31, 2023
    • Business and technology development professionals at UC Riverside will review the applications and select ten (10) semi-finalists by February 10, 2023
    • The ten (10) Semi-finalists pitch to a UCR panel on February 17, 2023
    • Six finalists are selected. Finalists pitch to an external panel on February 24, 2023 followed by a brief question and answer session
    • Winners will be selected and announced the same day of the final presentation
  • Who are the mentors?
    • UC Riverside employs a team of expert mentors dedicated to help entrepreneurs and inventors with individualized support for the development, funding, commercialization, validation and incubation of ideas.
    • For the UCR EPIC Eurosemillas International Incubation Challenge, a highly qualified group of mentors with deep experience spanning many fields of business technologies will be selected to provide their professional expertise and perspectives.  These mentors will not only review and score the applications, but many of them will participate in the judging panel for the semi-final presentations.  Additionally, our mentors will work with the winning teams to explore opportunities and develop connections in the US market.  Our experience from years of working with early stage technology startup companies shows that mentor assistance is a critical factor not only in securing connections for financial support and development, but our mentors play a key role in sharpening the focus of early company trajectories. 
    • You can read more about our team and the work we do at the following site (https://techpartnerships.ucr.edu/about-us)
  • Why is this being done?

    UC Riverside takes an active role in economic and technology development, both locally and at the international level.  This contest is an opportunity for us to assist technology innovators in Latin America and help them engage with the ecosystem of Southern California to commercialize their technologies in the United States. This contest addresses a pressing need by Latin American entrepreneurs for funding and connections to penetrate the US market (Hyperlink to White paper). You can learn more about our outreach efforts through UCR’s EPIC International Incubator at this site (https://techpartnerships.ucr.edu/ucr-epic-international-incubator-riverside-california )

  • Will the application form save my progress if I stop when only partially finished?
    • The slides and video will take the most time to do correctly given the provided instructions.  Therefore, you are advised to complete those items before starting the application process so that you can complete your application in a single sitting.
    • The application webpage WILL save a limited amount of information if you start the application, shut down the webpage and return later.  However, the information saved is limited as follows;
    1. Returning to the webpage will recognize your IP address if your computer is set to allow cookies (i.e., this will not work if you are using private or incognito browsing) and you return using the same device on the same network used to start the application.
    2. If the application website recognizes your IP address, it will return you to the last page you had open and you can continue filling in data or uploading files from where you left off.  
    3. Note the application website remembers IP addresses and prior information submitted for only one week.  If you wait longer than one week before returning to the site means your earlier information will be lost and you must start the application from the beginning.
Alexandra Orozco

Contact: Alexandra Orozco

Associate Director, International Partnerships EPIC
Entrepreneurship and Innovation

(951) 827-9217
alexandra.orozco@ucr.edu

Alexandra has 20 years of experience working in North and Latin America leading startups and SMEs towards growth and exploration of new markets.  Her experience spans the life sciences, sustainability and IT sectors among others. Alexandra holds an MBA from Dalhousie University in Canada as well as BBA in International Business from EAFIT University in Colombia. 

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