Workshops & Events

Information on this page will be frequently updated, so keep checking back for additional details on these events and more.  Recordings will be made available following each livestream event (see “Past Events & Recordings” section below).

: Live Stream Available

: Online Appointments Available

: In-Person Participation Opportunity

: Remote Participation Opportunity

Upcoming Events

Big Ideas "Inspiration & Information Session" #1:

Featuring: Luke Latimer, Cofounder and CSO, ZestBio

September 20, 5:30pm PT | B120 Blum Hall [UC Berkeley]

Luke Latimer, cofounder and CSO of ZestBio, will talk about the origins of his Big Idea to transform agricultural waste streams into specialty chemicals, helping manufacturers meet consumer demand for eco-friendly products while avoiding synthetic chemicals and their associated environmental impacts. Following this inspiring talk, Big Ideas advisors will provide an overview of the rules, requirements and eligibility for the Big Ideas Contest. RSVP Here (Required!) 

Big Ideas Social Innovator Speaker Series & Info Session #2

Featuring: Sneha Sheth, Founder & CEO, Dost Education

October 13, 12:00pm PT | B120 Blum Hall, UC Berkeley

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Get inspired by the startup story of Dost Education, as told by its CEO and cofounder, Sneha Sheth. Dost Education puts parents of any literacy or income level at the center of their child’s early learning. Currently launched in India, Dost reached 30,000 families in its first two years of operations and aims to turn 1 million homes into learning labs this year. Following this, Big Ideas advisors will provide an overview of the rules, requirements and eligibility for the 2022-23 Big Ideas Contest. RSVP Here (Required)

Designing For Social Impact

A panel discussion, moderated by Jeffrey Eyet, Lecturer, Haas School of Business

October 14, 12:00pm PT  | Jacobs Hall, Room 310, UC Berkeley

Jointly hosted by the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, Big Ideas, and the Development Engineering Program, Designing for Social Impact is an interactive panel discussion moderated by Jeffrey Eyet, CEO and Co-founder of The Berkeley Innovation Group. Joining the conversation will be a “dream team” panel of successful social innovators who will discuss how they incorporated user research, creative thinking methods, and other human-centered design principals to solve complex social challenges.

RSVP here by October 7th to attend. (Light bites and refreshments will be served.)

Big Ideas Pre-proposal Writing Workshop

Topic: Framing & Communicating the Problem

October 18, 5:30pm PT  | 120 Blum Hall, UC Berkeley

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Receive guidance and feedback on how to effectively craft your Big Ideas pre-proposal. Big Ideas advisors will walk you through every element that is required in your 3-page pre-proposal submission and any answer questions you have. This workshop will have an added emphasis on how to efficiently and succinctly identify and convey the social challenge (aka “the problem”)  you are seeking to address. Big Ideas advisors will share strategies on how to balance statistics and personal or user insights to effectively document the urgency and social need. RSVP Here (Required)

Big Ideas Innovator Speaker Series & Information Session #3

Featuring: Meryll Dindin, Founder & CTO, Polygon

October 25, 5:30pm PT  | 120 Blum Hall, UC Berkeley

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Polygon is a new kind of psychology practice specializing in online testing and support for dyslexia, ADHD, and other learning differences Meryll Dindin, Polygon’s cofounder and chief technology officer will talk about how his team created the vision and built this company that has now successfully raised $4.2 million of venture funding. Attendees will also have the opportunity to learn more about the rules, eligibility and requirements for the 2022-2023 Big Ideas Contest. RSVP Here (Required)

Pre-proposal Writing Workshop

Topic: Demonstrating the Need & Value for Your Innovation

November 2, 5:30pm PT  | 120 Blum Hall, UC Berkeley

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Receive guidance and feedback on how to effectively craft your Big Ideas pre-proposal. Big Ideas advisors will walk you through every element that is required in your 3-page pre-proposal submission and any answer questions you have. This workshop will have an added emphasis on strategies and tips for conducting thorough market assessments and landscape analyses, and how to use that research to create a powerful and unique value proposition statement. Big Ideas advisors will be on hand following the session to answer any additional questions teams may have. RSVP Here (Required)

Big Ideas "Inspiration & Information Session" #4:

Learn our tips & best practices for submitting your Big Idea!

November 15, 12:00pm PT  | ONLINE ONLY

Learn everything you need to know to get funding (up to $20K​!​), support, and recognition to help you launch your early-stage social venture. Big Ideas advisors will provide an overview of the rules, requirements, and eligibility for the 2022-23 Big Ideas Contest. Then there will be plenty of time for participants to ask questions and learn more about some of the amazingly successful startups and ventures that have begun with a “Big Idea”! RSVP Here (Required)

Innovators@Cal: Inspiration, Fast Pitches, Team Building & More...

Featuring: David Breslauer, Co-founder & CTO, Bolt Threads

November 17, 5:30pm PT  | Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center, UC Berkeley

Innovators@Cal is designed to foster collaboration across the UC Berkeley campus.  Kicking off the event will be keynote speaker David Breslauer (PhD, BioEng ’10), cofounder and CTO of Bolt Threads. David leads technology innovation at Bolt, creating and incubating biomaterials for improved consumer products. Bolt has more than 100 employees and offices in the US and Europe and is the latest Cal startup to achieve “unicorn” status.

Following the keynote, students and student teams will be provided with opportunities to advance their ideas and ventures through two-minute pitches on stage and whiteboard sessions where students can discuss their ideas with other innovators, receive feedback, recruit new team members, and more! Innovators@Cal is hosted by Big Ideas, Bakar BioEnginuity Hub, Haas Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurs@Berkeley, Berkeley Entrepreneurs Association, and Berkeley Venture Capital.

RSVP to attend or to participate in the pitch/whiteboarding sessions (Required. Space is limited!)

What Makes a Big Idea "BIG"! (Panel Discussion)

Pre-proposal judges share insights on Big Ideas applications!

(December 1 | 12:00-12:45pm PT | Online via Zoom) 

Get inside the head of a Big Ideas pre-proposal judge and learn what they are looking for when they review applications. What makes an idea stand out? What are some commonalities they see across the best Big Ideas? What are the common strengths and weaknesses? A panel of our most seasoned judges will answer all these questions and more, with plenty of time for Q&A with the Zoom audience. RSVP HERE! 

Pre-Proposal Editing Blitz

Receive last-minute feedback on your application!

(December 2, 5 & 6 | All Day | 120 Blum Hall & Zoom Appointments) 

With only a few days left before the pre-proposal deadline (Dec. 7th), come and receive last minute advice on your pre-proposal application. Take advantage of this final opportunity to fine-tune your pre-proposal and receive feedback by signing up for an advising appointment with a member of the Big Ideas advising staff. (Registration opens early November.)

Pre-proposal Deadline

(Wednesday, December 7 | Due 1pm PT | Online submission)

(Wednesday, December 7 | Due 1pm PT | Online submission)

Deadline to submit your pre-proposal! Please carefully read all of the instructions on the Big Ideas application page and allow at least 30 minutes to complete the entire application/upload process. Late submissions will not be accepted, so make sure to contact us if you have any questions. (Application period opens on October 3.)

Big Ideas Grand Prize Pitch Day

May 4th (4:00pm – 7:00pm) | Blum Hall

Join us to mingle with student innovators in a poster session explaining their 2022 Big Ideas (list of projects), then tune in as the top three Big Ideas teams vie for the $10,000 Grand Prize at the Big Ideas Grand Prize pitch competition, followed by the top Blockchain teams competing in the Binance-LIFT Blockchain Innovations for Social Good initiative, sponsored by Binance Charity. Students, mentors, judges and sponsors will be recognized in a festive Awards Celebration and Reception.

Industry Advising Clinic

November 10 | 4 pm PT| Zoom Advising Appointments 

Come meet one on one with expert advisors from the Big Ideas network to discuss your innovative ideas and critical guidance and constructive feedback. The experts bring years of experience advising and coaching startups along with robust technical expertise. The list of experts will be shared in advance and students can sign up for 30 minute advising appointments. This session fills up fast, so look out for an announcement in the Big Ideas Newsletter in October. Register here.

Pre-Proposal Editing Blitz

November 15 & 17 | All Day | 120 Blum Hall, UC Berkeley & Zoom Appointments 

With only a few days left before the pre-proposal deadline (Nov. 18th), come and receive last-minute advice on your pre-proposal application. Take advantage of this final opportunity to fine-tune your pre-proposal and receive feedback by signing up for an advising appointment with a member of the Big Ideas advising staff.

Pre-proposal Deadline

November 18 | Due 1pm PT | Online submission 

Deadline to submit your pre-proposal! Please carefully read all of the instructions on the Big Ideas application page and allow at least 30-45 minutes to complete the entire application/upload process. Late submissions will not be accepted, so make sure to contact us if you have any questions. 

Past Events & Recording

What Makes a Big Idea "BIG"! Judges' Panel (December 1)

2022 Big Ideas Pre-Proposal
Info Session (October 26)

Social Innovator Speaker Series (October 26)

2022 Big Ideas Pre-Proposal
Info Session (October 13)

Big Ideas Pre-proposal Writing Workshop #1 (October 18)

Pre-proposal "Problem Framing" Session (October 18)

Big Ideas Social Innovator Speaker Series #3: Takachar

Big Ideas Social Innovator Speaker Series #2: Respira Labs

Big Ideas Final Round Kickoff & Social Innovation Speaker Series #1: Edvisorly

Inspiration & Information Session: With Ryan Barr, COO, RePurpose Energy

2020 Big Ideas Grand Prize Pitch Day

Inspiration & Information Session: With Christelle Rohaut, Cofounder & CEO, Codi

2022 Big Ideas Final Round Kickoff

Upcoming!