hITEC guidelines


All full-time UC Irvine students who are registered with the university for the entire academic year are eligible to enter the competition.

Individuals who do not meet this requirement may be part of an existing team provided at least two (2) of the competitors on the team are current UCI students.

At least one of the team members must be an ICS student. Teams must have a minimum of three (3) members and not exceed a maximum of six (6) members. Teams must be led by a current UC Irvine student.

To participate in the competition, you must register online.

Once registered, teams will be assigned industry/faculty mentors according to the criteria delineated in the registration form.

Teams can independently identify and secure an industry and/or faculty mentor for the competition.

Forming a Team/Obtaining Additional Team Members

Searching for team members? Attend the graduate student Matrix Mixer on October 15 or the undergraduate student mixer on October 29.

Students working to form a team or add team members also are encouraged to use the hITEC forum as a resource.

In addition, interested participants will have one last chance to find team members at the competition kickoff even in January.

Refining a Product Idea

Teams are encouraged to meet with our volunteer experts to refine their ideas prior to their first competition submission.

Luis Vasquez, Director of OCTANe's LaunchPad program, is available Thursday afternoons in the Calit2 building, office 4106. Or email him at luis.vasquez@octaneoc.org.

Teams also can contact Tech Coast Works CEO Jeff Greenberg.


The Merage School of Business offers an extensive array of workshops related to both competitions.

Additionally, students have access to most OCTANe workshops free of charge by signing up with OCTANe Next.

Students are also encouraged to view the hITEC overview presentation.

Team Integrity

Once the Preliminary Product Description has been submitted, 50% of the team must remain intact for the rest of the competition.

100% of the team must remain intact after submitting the Preliminary Product Specifications.

Product Plan/Idea

Teams must present an original idea.

The product/idea must not be backed by incubators, existing companies, venture capitalists or other investors.

Teams or team members that have received any form of venture capital financing for their competition entry plan or a likeness thereof may not participate in the competition.

Any team receiving venture capital funding while participating in the competition will be disqualified.

Documents and Demos

Documents should be single spaced with a font size between 10 and 12 points.

Demos are required for the final phase of the competition.

Teams will have a chance to present their projects and demos in front of a panel of judges during that time.


Cash awards will be given to the top three teams.

The first three teams will automatically qualify as finalists in the Merage School Business Plan Competition for a chance to win additional prizes and the chance to present to a VC company and potentially receive funding up to $1 million.

Please note in order to advance to the Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth Business Plan Competition, the team must include a student from the Merage School (either an MBA or BIM student).

In addition, all teams receiving an award will qualify to participate as a sponsor in Project ICS in order to help develop their products. Project ICS submissions must occur within the academic year immediately following the competition (certain restrictions apply).

Judging Guidelines

The judges are professionals who come from various backgrounds.

Judges are experts in the process of starting a business including business plan developments, or in the technologies the students are developing.

The judges consider many different criteria when evaluating concept papers and the business plans.

Some of the elements that are considered are:

  • Does the technological/design innovation provide a sustainable, competitive advantage?
  • Does a competitive advantage exist over other products in this application?
  • Does the functionality satisfy the application?
  • Is there a significant return on investment to user?
  • Is the product description clear, detailed and descriptive?
  • Is there a market need for this product?
  • Has the user been realistically identified?
  • Are the benefits to the user clear and sufficient to result in purchase?
  • Have specific user interfaces been provided?
  • Is the user interface well described?
  • Are the requirements thorough, realistic and accurate?
  • Is there a block diagram?
  • Have all of the major modules been described in detail?