2021 Big Ideas Innovation Ambassador Program

Are you interested in social impact, entrepreneurship & innovation, or public service? The Big Ideas Contest, open to all campuses of the University of California system, is seeking highly-motivated students interested in social impact and entrepreneurship to serve as Big Ideas “Innovation Ambassadors.” Please email bigideas@berkeley.edu with any questions you may have about the role.

The Big Ideas Contest

Big Ideas is an annual contest open to students across the UC system aimed at providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students who have innovative solutions to pressing social challenges. Since its founding at UC Berkeley in 2005, Big Ideas has grown to become one of the largest and most diverse social innovation competitions in the country. It has inspired innovative and high-impact student-led projects aimed at solving problems that matter to this generation. These social ventures include for-profit enterprises, non-profit organizations, and community based initiatives, all of which are supported through the nine-month program that consists of a comprehensive suite of resources, including mentorship, expert advising, and workshops.

Who Should Apply?

Highly-motivated students interested in social entrepreneurship or innovation, able to take initiative and work independently on their respective campuses. Prior leadership or outreach experience preferred. Both upper level undergraduate and graduate students will be considered. (You can find the list of last year’s Big Ideas 2020 Innovation Ambassadors HERE.)

Innovation Ambassador: Perks

  • Compensation: Competitive stipend.
  • Training: Extensive, personalized training and ongoing support will be provided by the Big Ideas team based at UC Berkeley. 
  • Knowledge: Gain a deep understanding of entrepreneurship resources on your campus.
  • Connections: Broaden your innovation network across the UC System and externally.
  • Student Engagement: Student to student advising and mentorship experience
  • Résumé Development: Sharpen your CV and demonstrate your entrepreneurial leadership skills.

Innovation Ambassador: Role

Innovation Ambassadors work with students, professors, and key entrepreneurial centers and the Big Ideas team to foster and engage the social innovation network on their respective campuses. The goal is to provide aspiring student entrepreneurs with a platform and the resources necessary to transform their innovative ideas into promising social ventures.

Each UC System campus will have at least one designated Innovation Ambassadors (IAs) responsible for outreach, event organization, advising, and research. IAs will receive personalized training and ongoing support and guidance from the Big Ideas team based at UC Berkeley. The role will take place from early September through mid-December, with an expected 10 hours per week commitment. A virtual training will be organized in early to mid-September to kick off the program. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning May 31, 2021.

The IA role consists of the following workstreams:

  • Network Identification & Engagement (30%): Identify and develop relationships with entrepreneurial focused organizations and individuals (on-campus and externally.)
  • Outreach (30%): Promote Big Ideas through class announcements, posters and emails.
  • Events (20%): Organize and lead at least 2 information sessions and a networking event.
  • Student Advising (20%): Meet with students to provide guidance and advice on the Big Ideas Contest process.