Here’s the wrap: UCSC’s Summer Entrepreneurship Academy

By Jennifer Gallacher
UCSC Summer Session Marketing and Communications Coordinator

September 13, 2017 — Santa Cruz, CA

(Photo above: Tiffany Lee, a summer participant in the Summer Entrepreneurship Academy — aka SEA — presents her start-up business idea, Moody, to her fellow SEA classmates. Contributed.)

This summer, students from around the globe spent 8 weeks developing and refining their business models. From apps to register your mood or catch a ride on campus, to a wave-sensing company, UCSC’s Summer Entrepreneurship Academy (SEA) got things started.

Based on the Lean Launchpad and NSF I-Corps model, students built teams and were paired with a mentor with start-up experience to help them discover and develop their proposed businesses. Forced out of their heads and onto the streets, models shifted after teams talked to potential customers and put real numbers behind potential revenues vs. expenses.

The class culminated with teams giving their final executive business-plan presentations and story-making videos. When the dust settled, numerous teams decided to continue down the startup path. When the early adopters start wearing Juice and “Confer”ing, you’ll know where they started.

Summer Entrepreneurship Academy Projects included:

  • AiHS – Application of artificial intelligence in home security use.
  • Confer – A social learning platform, Confer is a place for people to exchange ideas and resources to support passion-driven education. It allows people to explore, share, and discuss the many facets of knowledge that the internet has to offer. Users benefit from strongly organized and community-curated collections of videos, images, and articles. Confer aims to encourage mainstream learning by breaking down the negative stigma behind it.
  • Favor – Online application allows invitees to a neighborhood potluck to specify the food they’re bringing when they accept the invitations   .
  • Juice – Ethnic African (specifically Eritrean) clothing line, intended especially for community building and cultural education and celebration among African-Americans.
  • Let’s Get Social – Virtual-reality platform tests a user’s calling and conviction for social causes through the user’s creation of content in the platform.
  • Moody – A mobile application, Moody allows users to register their moods and then responds to negative moods, such as depression, with positive-reinforcing and countering thought exercises and advice to help alleviate negativity.
  • Planner – The Planner application combines planning and calendaring software with a virtual chat room of advisers to help users plan and meet goals. It gets people who have the same plans or goals together to communicate ideas and motivate one another. The Planner team assigns agents to host activities, such as sharing educational knowledge related to specific plans, prompts users to share their progress on plans, and, for a fee, helps users improve plans.
  • Santa Cruz Wave Works (SCWW) – A wave characterization, water-signature, and wave-sensing company, SCWW provides real-time data solutions to surfers (and other ocean users), creating value by acquiring and aggregating wave data into a simplified user interface. SCWW provides surfers with macro, micro, and sub-micro climate data that eliminates the need to monitor from the beach for optimal surfing conditions. SCWW sensing systems enable real-time local immersive data visualization, condition reports, and text notifications based on data gathered using sub-surface buoys.
  • Sea+Tech – Customer relationship plus inventory management (CRIM) software improves small-scale, sustainable-seafood, supply-chain businesses from harvest to customer.
  • Seeking Symbiosis – At Seeking Symbiosis we design stylish prints for clothing and accessories of species interactions found in nature, linking them to real science research. Our goal is to improve public awareness around environmental issues by merging art and science into attractive designs for stylish clothing that appeals to a wide customer base. In this way, we hope to build science literacy and increase public support for both science and art.
  • SlugRide – A ride-sharing application for the UCSC community, SlugRide gets commuters to and from campus efficiently by carpooling.
  • SlugSense – A self-sustaining network of sensors for wireless monitoring and autonomous irrigation.
  • WaterBug – Water distribution system monitor provides real-time data to save water and energy.

Anyone can take classes at UCSC over the summer.

Interested in joining the 2018 UCSC Summer Entrepreneurship Academy? Join the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development mailing list, and we’ll let you know when Summer Session registration and enrollment opens. Anyone can take classes at UCSC over the summer.

SEA Informational Session

Student entrepreneurs, we are again teaching SEA at UCSC this summer. We are having an informational session, Wednesday, May 31st at 7 pm at the Crown College Fireside Lounge.

Are you serious about your business idea and getting it to funded reality?
Don’t miss taking the CIED Summer Entrepreneurship Academy and learning if you have customers for your idea.
Here is the course listed on UCSC’s summer session:

Summer Entrepreneurship Academy: Discovering and Launching a Business

  • CRWN 90


    Open to ALL students, from any college during Summer.

    Explores business-learning fundamentals. Based on the nine basic building blocks of the Business Model Canvas, encourages students to move products from the lab and into the market. Encourages students to talk to potential customers, partners, and competitors; and each student team presents its findings each week. Business-learning fundamentals are delivered online, so workshops focus on face-to-face interactions between students, their mentors, and the instructional team. Culminates in students giving their final executive business-plan presentation and story-making video. (General Education Code(s): PR-C.)



SEA Information Session May 12th

UCSC SUMMER ENTREPRENEURSHIP ACADEMYThis Informational Session will explain UCSC’s first accelerator class, Summer Entrepreneurship Academy where Innovation meets Customer’s needs.

Thursday, May 12 at 2 PM – 3 PM
Room 599 in Engineering 2, UCSC
In this 8-week program, students build teams consisting of one or more students as entrepreneurial leads and a mentor with start-up experience that can help the students discover and develop their business model.


The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship or CIED is hosting the 4th annual Business Design Showcase returns as a more intense, invitation-only business-plan competition:


TiE Silicon Valley | 415 Oakmead Parkway | Sunnyvale
Tuesday | April 12, 2016 | 3:30 to 6:30 PM

Naeem ZafarSeventeen teams consisting of one to six people, the sole or lead member of which must be a UCSC graduate or undergraduate student, will compete in this year’s BDS competition. The individuals or teams turn in their business plans by April 8 and give their PowerPoint presentations before a judges panel of entrepreneurs on April 12. The judges select 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. Following the judging, all competing businesses display their product or service prototypes and give their 5-minute-or-less pitches in an open forum at the Business Design Showcase, starting at 3:30 PM in the conference space of TiE Silicon Valley. Attendees of the Business Design Showcase—venture capitalists, investment bankers, CEOs, patent attorneys, hiring representatives, and UC Santa Cruz VIPs and area alumni—vote with their Slug Bucks seed-funding money for the People’s Choice Award. Serial entrepreneur and UC Berkeley Haas Business School instructor Naeem Zafar will give the keynote address, and the winner of the People’s Choice Award, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st places will be announced during the Showcase.

Hear Sue Carter and Nada Miljkovic talk about it.


What is the NSF Innovation Corps?

The NSF Innovation Corps (NSF I-CorpsTM) is a set of activities and programs that prepare scientists and engineers for extending their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects. Teams of three are comprised of the previously-funded NSF grant Principal Investigator, an Entrepreneurial Lead, and an Industry Mentor.

This $50,000, 6-month grant kicks off with an intense 6-week, course using the Lean LaunchPad and the Business Model Canvas. It demands that teams “get out of the building” and undergo customer discovery to test their technology concept’s hypothesized product-market fit and commercial viability. Additionally, weekly webinars are conducted to review educational material and discuss what the teams learned in their customer interviews. At the end of the course, the teams present a 10-slide PowerPoint and a video of “Lessons Learned” in front of the national teaching team, NSF directors, venture capitalists, angel investors, and their fellow classmates.