Big Ideas Entrepreneurs Respond to COVID-19

For many entrepreneurs who come out of the University of California’s Big Ideas social innovation contest, the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic are motivating them to find creative ways to shift their business strategies to stay busy and afloat.

EPA Awards Grant to 2019 Big Ideas Winner

2019 Big Ideas Winner, “Solving the Arsenic Problem in Rural California,” is researching how to efficiently remove arsenic from water. This venture is one of 18 teams that received a total of $447,000 in grant funding from the EPA through its research program, the People, Prosperity and the Planet, or P3, Student Design Competition Program.

Takataka Plastics Finding Local Solutions to Waste in Gulu, Uganda

In 2018 and 2019, Balcom, a UC Berkeley PhD student in mechanical and development engineering, won the Big Ideas Contest and Big Ideas Scaling Up for Takataka Plastics, a social enterprise that locally transforms plastic waste in Gulu, Uganda into quality and affordable construction materials.

Arts Entrepreneurship Comes to Big Ideas Contest

With all of the excitement and funding directed at artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and gene editing, it is hard to remember that one of the most consistently innovative and financially robust sectors in the United States is the “creative industry.”

Echolocation Technology that Empowers the Blind

Darryl Diptee used to think of himself as a “closet innovator.”
During his time as an officer for the U.S. Navy, Diptee remembers being told to “color inside the lines and innovate on your own time.”

How One Big Idea Led to an Innovative Co-working Solution

Rohaut wondered if there might be an opportunity to transform underutilized residencies like her apartment during the day into productive spaces for freelancers — to create a kind of “Airbnb for coworking spaces.” That spark led to Codi, an online platform

2019 Big Ideas Contest Winners Announced!

In November 2018, the Contest received over 330 pre-proposal applications, representing over 1,000 students across 12 campuses. After a preliminary round and a final review, 34 teams were awarded prizes across 8 different categories, with award amounts ranging from $2,000 to $15,000.