Program Detail

Big Bang! Business Competition Prizes
This year we will award $64,500 in prizes

Sponsored awards for the 2016/17 season are still being confirmed and are subject to change.

Big Bang! Awards

First Place: $10,000 cash

The first place winner receives $10,000 cash. The winner is selected in a closed-door session prior to the awards ceremony and announced at the ceremony. Support from our generous sponsors provides the first place cash award funding.

Second Place: $5,000 cash

The first place winner receives $5,000 cash. The winner is selected in a closed-door session prior to the awards ceremony and announced at the ceremony. Support from our generous sponsors provides the second place cash award funding.

People’s Choice Award: $2,500

The People’s Choice Award winner receives $2,500 cash. This award is announced at the awards ceremony after audience members cast their ballots for their favorite pitch and business idea. Support from our generous sponsors provides the People’s Choice Award funding.

Sponsored Awards

We are updating sponsored awards as sponsorships are confirmed for this year’s Big Bang! competition.

Local Innovators Award: $10,000 in-kind services

Sponsored by Davis Roots

Local incubator Davis Roots is offering $10,000 of in-kind services to a winning team that plans to launch their business in Davis. Their donation consists of providing startup support, connections and services for a designated period of time. This award is intended to promote and support innovation in the Davis area and across the region.

Biomedical Innovation Award: $4,000

Sponsored by UC Davis Office of Research, School of Veterinary Medicine, School of Medicine and College of Engineering

The Biomedical Innovation Award is given to the team with the top biomedical innovation. This award is co-sponsored across the UC Davis campus by the Office of Research, the School of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Medicine and the College of Engineering.

Global Poverty Alleviation Award: $3,000

Sponsored by UC Davis Blum Center for Developing Economies

The Global Poverty Alleviation Award is given to the team with a highest-quality solution for improving the lives of people in poverty in the developing and/or developed world.

Innovation in Food & Agriculture Award: $3,000

Sponsored by the UC Davis World Food Center

The Innovation in Food & Agriculture Award is given to the innovation that contributes to strengthening our food system, locally or globally. The focal areas for impact are innovations that improve the energy or water efficiency of how we produce food (from agriculture through food processing) or that advance healthier outcomes from food.

CleanTech Award: $2,500

Sponsored by Gary Simon and CleanStart

The CleanTech Award will be given to the team addressing today’s most urgent energy and environmental challenges. This award honors the best idea that harnesses renewable materials and energy sources, dramatically reduces the use of natural resources, and cuts or eliminates emissions and wastes. The recipient will also qualify for inclusion in the National CleanTech Open, with fees waived.

Challenge Awards

This year we are proud to announce the creation of three “challenge awards” that ask teams to present an innovative solution in a specific area of science or business. The sponsors for each challenge award will participate in selecting  the winning team.

Teams that did not enter by the Big Bang! Business Competition Round 1 deadline of February 23 – but that are interested in being considered for a challenge award – may submit materials for consideration by the Round 2 deadline: April 11, no later than 11:59 p.m.

Teams that did not enter by the Round 1 deadline will only be considered for the challenge awards and are not eligible for other Big Bang! competition awards. These teams must submit the following deliverables by April 11: executive summary, team bios, customer calls, video pitch and pitch deck.

For more information or to register your team to compete for a challenge award, contact Karen Harding-Davis, Big Bang! program manager. 

New Directions Challenge Award: $5,000

Sponsored by EVCO Plastics

Deadline to apply: May 17

Interested in helping transform an existing company rather than starting your own? The New Directions for Business Challenge could win you $5,000 and meetings with the leadership of EVCO Plastics, a $1 billion+ firm. EVCO management seeks to transform its agricultural division through enhanced marketing, distribution and/or business approaches. 

Teams will be evaluated on their ability to provide a compelling plan to transform and scale the agricultural division of EVCO Plastics, a worldwide manufacturer of injection-molded plastic products (see link to catalog below). 

EVCO Agricultural Products

NOTE: Entrants may not contact EVCO management or ownership for additional information. All information used or included in the submission must be obtained through noncompany interviews or other means that could be reasonably accessible to any team.

Syngas Challenge Award: $10,000

Sponsored by Sierra Energy

This award will be given to a team developing a business concept around synthesis gas. Synthesis gas—or “syngas”—is a fuel gas mixture consisting primarily of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and often carbon dioxide, and is often a byproduct of waste decomposition. The name comes from its use as an intermediate in creating synthetic natural gas and for producing ammonia or methanol. Syngas is usually a product of gasification, and the main application is electricity generation. Syngas can help in the processes of creating clean water, fertilizer, power and fuel.

Interested teams should demonstrate a technology that can reasonably be made from synthetic gases, particularly those with a mixture of up to 30 percent hydrogen and 60 percent carbon monoxide. Preference is given for realistic waste-derived synthetic gas compositions that include impurities. Demonstration of technology can be either process/flow engineering modeling or laboratory bench scale, with preference given to experimentally validated solutions. Special consideration will be given to a technology that creates the highest value end-product ($/kg[incoming syngas]). Technology should be economically feasible using the following parameters:

  • Scale of operation: receiving 500 kg/hr to 2,500 kg/hr of syngas (30% H2, 70% CO); 

  • Cost of the incoming syngas: zero cost ($0.00 / MMBTU);

  • Cost of utilities: assume California utilities pricing of $0.10/kWhe for electricity and $2.50/MMBTU for natural gas; and
  • Sale price of end products: typical current sales price of commodities within the U.S. (three- or 12-month average price)

NOTE: Entrants may not contact Sierra Energy management or ownership for additional information. All information used or included in the submission must be obtained through noncompany interviews or other means that could be reasonably accessible to any team.

Gowan Co. and AGR Challenge Award: $10,000

Sponsored by the Gowan Company and AGR Partners

This award is intended for teams interested in increasing resource efficiency in agriculture or food systems. It will be awarded to a new or existing venture that demonstrates excellent promise to do “more with less” with resources (water, fertilizer, pesticides/herbicides and other resource additions).

NOTE: Entrants may not contact the Gowan Co. or AGR Partners management or ownership for additional information. All information used or included in the submission must be obtained through noncompany interviews or other means that could be reasonably accessible to any team.