Key Funding Options UCI Startups Should Know About

Listicle Rising Tide Rising Tide - Nov '19
November 19, 2019 By Ethan Perez

Financing without giving up equity is available if you know where to look.

Funding is necessary for any company, especially for those still developing their first product. And while equity-based funding – where investors provide funding in exchange for owning part of your company – receives a lot of attention, it is not the only option available. Non-dilutive funding allows companies to receive money without giving up any ownership of the company and could be an attractive alternative for early-stage startups. Read on for more information on several non-dilutive funding options.

GRANTS

For Students:
Student Startup Fund
UCI Beall Applied Innovation’s Student Startup Fund provides micro-grants to UC Irvine students and recent alumni who are engaged in UCI’s entrepreneurial programs, competitions and centers. The Student Startup Fund can provide financial support of up to $1,000 to pay for prototyping, market research, specialized software, project-related events or conferences, and more.

For Faculty:
Proof of Product (POP) Grants
Applied Innovation also offers POP Grants, a funding program that gives up to $100,000 to faculty innovators for the purpose of accelerating the development of UCI’s commercially promising intellectual property.

COMPETITION PRIZES

New Venture Competition
The New Venture Competition, hosted by the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UCI Paul Merage School of Business, offers UCI students, staff members and researchers, as well as community members, the opportunity to take a startup idea from concept to reality over seven months. Teams compete for prizes awarded to those in the top spots in five categories: consumer products, consumer services, business products and services, life sciences, and social enterprise.

CUSTOMER FUNDING

Products for Preorder
For product-based startups, offering products for preorder is another way to gather funds. The money received from preorder sales can provide early-stage startups with the funds to cover manufacturing and other costs that would otherwise come from loans or investors. While this option is not suited for every industry or company, a number of startups have achieved success through rewards-based crowdfunding and other preorder platforms.

FEDERAL GRANTS

Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Grant
The SBIR program, part of the Small Business Administration (SBA), is funded by participating federal agencies. Eleven federal agencies currently participate in the program, with each agency designating research and development (R&D) topics they are open to funding. This competitive awards-based program offers funds to small businesses for R&D on projects that have the potential for commercialization. Applied Innovation can help you understand and apply for these and other government-funded commercialization grants.

Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Grant
The STTR program, much like the SBIR program, is funded by participating federal agencies. Five federal agencies currently participate in the program, with each agency designating R&D topics they are open to funding. This competitive awards-based program offers funds to small businesses for R&D on projects that have the potential for commercialization. STTR grant awardees must collaborate with a research institution to conduct their R&D efforts. Applied Innovation can help you understand and apply for these and other government-funded commercialization grants.

LOANS

Small Business Administration-Guaranteed Loans
The SBA works with lenders by setting guidelines for loans, which both reduces risks for lenders and makes it easier for small businesses to access much-needed capital. While many lenders require borrowers to personally guarantee their loans by putting up assets as collateral, these loans are tailored for small businesses and offer unique benefits like lower down payments, flexible overhead requirements and competitive terms. Some loans even come with counseling and education support. The Cove @ UCI is home to an SBA Small Business Development Center whose staff can help you learn about and pursue SBA loans and other services including expert consultants.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for startup funding, so it is incumbent upon entrepreneurs to seek guidance before pursuing any sort of funding opportunity. Learn more about funding opportunities and other resources and services available through Applied Innovation.

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