UCR EPIC Incubation Challenge to give $100K in prizes to Six Latin American Tech Startups

By: Sharjeel Sohaib

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Jan 5, 2023

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  • Tech-focused Latin American startups aiming to investigate chances to market their discoveries in the US will receive help from the UCR EPIC International Incubation Challenge
  • A total of $100,000 in prizes—$40,000 in cash, $60,000 in expert mentorship support from UC Riverside, and a trip to Riverside, California for the winner—will be awarded to six (6) LATAM entrepreneurs. 

What’s the UCR EPIC Incubation program?

The University of California Riverside developed the UCR EPIC Incubation program to assist foreign entrepreneurs in developing a complete understanding of the American market, making connections, and learning how investors and corporations interact with startups. 

What’s the UCR EPIC Incubation program?

The University of California Riverside developed the UCR EPIC Incubation program to assist foreign entrepreneurs in developing a complete understanding of the American market, making connections, and learning how investors and corporations interact with startups. 

EPIC Incubation Program – A Motive to Support Entrepreneurs

The UCR EPIC Incubation program aims to assist innovators by helping them swiftly verify that there is a market for their idea through an investigation of the US market landscape. 

International entrepreneurs praised the program, revealing that more support was required than had been thought. Direct responses from business owners, prospective customers, and partners in the US suggested a need for specialized technical help and more intensive support concerning business development and access to funding.

Working with Latin American entrepreneurs for several years in the UCR EPIC Incubation program confirmed that while most business owners are aware of the distinctiveness of their product in the North American market, they lack a thorough understanding of the needs and requirements of the potential market for their technology. 

It also became evident that foreign entrepreneurs needed contacts and knowledge of North American business culture early on in examining their technologies’ market potential to unlock the doors of possible partners and investors.

Finding the Needs of Entrepreunrs via Survey Forms

The team in charge of the UCR EPIC entrepreneurial and innovation programs sent a survey to 100 startup incubators and accelerator programs throughout Latin America as well as technology transfer hubs and offices in the region in March 2022 to better understand and assess the scale of the needs revealed through the program. 

A variety of respondents, including those who identified as incubators or places for product development (27.3%), accelerators or sites for business growth (22.7%), and technology transfer hubs where technologies are evaluated and licensed (36.4%), contributed to the 30% response rate, with offices representing a combination of these roles accounting for the remaining 13.6%. 

Not all survey participants responded to every question, and comparisons between respondents on a specific question were only made when answers were available. The survey responses led to the gathering of user data and the beginning of discussions between the UCR EPIC team and diverse groups willing to work together to find answers for their entrepreneurs.

Who can apply?

The applicants must be the founders or key personnel of a LATAM tech firm engaged in sustainable development.

A. Prospective applicants from the following regions are urged to do so:

  • Technology in agriculture and food safety
  • Renewable sources of power and fuel
  • Infrastructure and transportation that is sustainable
  • Managing natural resources
  • Public health and health inequalities
  • Development of People

B. The startup of the applicant must have undertaken consumer validation in their own country. It must have at least a functional prototype of its technology on display.

C. The applicant’s technology must be covered by a patent application or some other form of intellectual property protection. The startup should own the technology or have been protected by a licensing or ownership arrangement.

D. Applicants must have created a straightforward, non-technical, public pitch deck presentation of their company.

E. Applicants must be connected to an innovation program, university technology transfer office, incubator, or accelerator in their country of residence.

Wrap Up!

By examining the US market environment, the UCR EPIC Incubation program seeks to support innovators by quickly determining whether there is a market for their concept. Six (6) LATAM entrepreneurs will receive $100,000 in rewards. A minimum response rate of 30% is required, and applicants must be the founders or key executives of a LATAM tech company involved in sustainable development. The survey responses sparked user data collection and the start of conversations between the UCR EPIC team and various groups ready to cooperate to discover solutions for their entrepreneurs.

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