Are you eager to support the next generation of innovators? The University of California, Irvine’s AI Innovation Challenge offers rewarding opportunities to get involved as a mentor or judge. By sharing your expertise, you can help shape talented students’ ideas and advancements in artificial intelligence.

About the AI Innovation Challenge

The AI Innovation Challenge aims to inspire UC Irvine’s undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty to create AI-powered solutions that tackle real-world problems in three tracks: Health Impact, Storytelling and Entertainment, and Student Experience. Teams from all majors are invited to conceptualize and build business ideas that include AI technologies within these areas of focus. 

As a mentor or judge, you can provide invaluable guidance to the students on this journey.

Become a Mentor

We have designed multiple touch points in the AI Innovation Challenge to allow teams to get support from mentors:

Track Workshop Mentorship

Each of the three tracks will have a dedicated workshop with guest speakers and time allocated to meet and work with mentors.

Track Workshop Series Days/Times:

  • Monday, October 23 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm at the UCI ANTrepreneur Center: AI in Health Impact
  • Wednesday, October 25 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm at the UCI ANTrepreneur Center: AI in Storytelling and Entertainment
  • Friday, October 27 from 5:00 pm-7:00 pm at the UCI ANTrepreneur Center: AI in Student Experience

Mentors will be invited to these workshops and will receive free parking.

Hack Day and Mentor Mixer

On November 17 from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm at the UCI ANTrepreneur Center, we will hold a special event for students to work on their ideas and interact with mentors. At this event, mentors will get a chance to meet and interact directly with teams to provide advice and encouragement. The focus is on high-level guidance, not detailed business plans.

Mentors are expected to share insights based on their own experiences as entrepreneurs, founders, and professionals. Mentors can make a real impact by inspiring teams and instilling confidence. Domain expertise in AI is helpful but not required to be a mentor. Mentors can help teams in everything from ideation, customer discovery, go-to market strategy, financial models, and so on.

Mentorship of the 15 Finalists

Once the top five teams have been chosen from each of the three tracks, we will be matching teams with mentors based on each team’s needs. We will assign mentors to finalist teams and encourage them to connect between December 6 and the in-person finals event on January 12. Mentors will help the finalists polish their ideas and presentations.

To apply to be a mentor, please fill out this form, and we will be in touch with more details if selected.

Judging Opportunities: Seeking Virtual Judges

If serving as a virtual judge appeals to you, we need your help. You will be expected to attend an hour-long judges’ training to help you understand the rubric and how to evaluate the video submissions. Once you have completed training, you will review five-minute video submissions from teams and evaluate them based on set criteria.

No AI expertise is required to be a judge, as clear evaluation rubrics are provided. Having expertise in AI is a bonus. The time commitment is around two hours total, with one hour of virtual training plus one hour to review a few five-minute pitch videos. The video submissions must be reviewed between November 27 and December 5.

If you are interested in being a virtual judge, please fill out this form.

 As a mentor or judge, you become part of a movement to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders. You get the chance to meet inspiring students, and potentially discover new technologies worthy of your support. Please consider applying to participate in this one-of-a-kind opportunity.

For more information about the UCI ANTrepreneur Center and how it can support your entrepreneurial journey, including programming, speaker series, micro-internships, funding, and more, visit our website. You can also learn more about our valuable collaborations, including Blackstone LaunchPad, Tech Coast Angels, Tech Coast Venture Network, OC Startup Council, SoCal Celebrates Entrepreneurship, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Threads.