IDEA Hub News

IDEA Hub workshop at the Imagining America (IA) Conference, UC Davis, October 13, 2017

  Faculty and students participating in IDEA Hub will be workshopping the challenges of  social and creative entrepreneurship on colleges campuses at the 17th Annual National Conference on October 13, 2017 at UC Davis. The IDEA Hub workshop will focus on developing best practices for diversity, inclusion, networking, social equity, assessment, and public engagement. For more information about this workshop and the conference please visit the Imagining America Conference website.



Open House, October 11, 2017

Students interested in becoming involved with IDEA Hub, please come to our Fall Open House on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 to learn more about projects, programs and opportunities.

Students apply in project teams for an opportunity to participate in this year-long program. The IDEA Hub Teams gain access to all four incubation facilities, a series of seminars and workshops, mentorship opportunities, and project seed funding.

To get more information on the Hub Team and become a team member, visit us at the IDEA Hub Fall Open House on October 11, 2017, at the Digital Arts Research Center (DARC).






June 8, 2017

Santa Cruz Tech Beat published an article about the IDEA Hub winners of Pitch for Social and Creative Enterprise

By Sonya Newlyn
UC Santa Cruz, June 8, 2017

The UC Santa Cruz IDEA Hub’s Pitch for Social and Creative Enterprise competition featured thirteen teams with widely varying ideas from low- to high-tech to benefit society. The judges had a very difficult time selecting the first, second, and third place winners, so awarded two honorable mentions in addition.

Credit: Colleen Jennings.

UCSC Waterbug team presents their pitch at the Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup on June 7, 2017.

The judges were:

  • Pete Cartwright, founder and former CEO of Calpine
  • Brian Johnston, CEO of Somagenics
  • Roger McConville, VP of Global Support Sales at BMC Software
  • Yvonne Rodriguez, Ph.D., M.B.A., former deputy director of SACNAS, Public Policy Fellow in Association for Women in Science, and Government Relations & Public Policy Associate in Society of Women Engineers

The winners are:

  • 1st place, $3000: WaterBug, a water-distribution-system monitor that provides real-time data to save water and energy. (Grant Ly, Alec Reid, Wyatt Smith, Tin Thurein)
  • 2nd place, $2000: Code Naturally, researching new approaches to excite 3rd through 9th graders about math and computer science. (Sukh Singh, CEO; Gabe de la Mora, Keller Jordan, Emily O’neal, Kathy Petersen, Kristian Talley, Alfred Young)
  • 3rd place, $2000: OVAC, a drone that autonomously collects water body floor sediment and reports data to marine researchers and industry professionals. (Garrett Ding, Josh Gutterman, Aaron Ramirez, Garrett Stoll)
  • Honorable Mention, $500: Santa Cruz WaveWorks, underwater sensors report surf conditions in real time. (John Tauriac)
  • Honorable Mention, $500: SlugSense, a wireless monitoring and data analysis system for environmental conservation (Scott Davis, Clayton Keleher, Matthew Kim, Yu-An Lin, Raul Lopez-Luna, Robert Lyons, Babandeep Singh, Tyler Tagawa)

The 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-place teams went on to pitch their ideas at the ensuing Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup on June 7.

The other competitors were:

  • BusStop, a mobile app that guides visually impaired travelers to and through public transit.
  • GoBike, a mobile electric bicycle sales and rental and maintenance service.
  • MicroPod, a modular tiny and energy-efficient mobile home
  • pTera, an aerial drone with infrared sensors that scans and reports terrestrial conditions
  • SlugRide, a mobile app for carpooling to campus
  • Smart Parking Over There (SPOT), a guidance system for parking easily and autonomously
  • Urbavore, automated aeroponic and vertical food production technology
  • WaterLab, scalable water treatment system for developing communities

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development (CIED) and the faculty and staff founders of IDEA Hub congratulate all participants for an excellent job and congratulate the winners and honorable mentions for exceptional presentations!

Santa Cruz Tech Beat published an article about the winners of Pitch for Social and Creative Enterprise, and you can also read about the winners here.

May 31, 2017

UCSC launches IDEA Hub to generate social enterprises

By Cori Hoover
Project Assistant, UCSC VizLab
Special to Santa Cruz Tech Beat

IDEA Hub’s first Pitch for Social and Creative Enterprise takes place June 7, 3pm,  before the SC New Tech Meetup, at Hotel Paradox

UC Santa Cruz is excited to present its newest academic program, the IDEA Hub. Led by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development (CIED), the IDEA Hub is a campus-wide initiative for students, created to spread social and creative entrepreneurship at UCSC. A network of incubation facilities, fellowships, seminars, workshops, and mentorships provides students spaces to think critically about the challenges facing society and propose pathways for meaningful intervention. This program gives graduate and undergraduate students a unique opportunity to make a difference in their community, developing skills and capacity to conceptualize and execute their socially engaged ideas.

The IDEA Hub is more than just a lab or mentorship program; it is a space where students are given the opportunity to collaborate with diverse interdisciplinary teams and develop ideas with technical knowledge to create projects with real-world impact. It is our hope that the IDEA Hub will be used to benefit both UCSC and the Santa Cruz community. Through this program the public will be able to engage with the university, and raise concerns that affect our shared city. This community involvement is the inspiration for the IDEA Hub, as the members of this program will use their projects to find solutions to community- and campus-proposed social challenges.

These projects will be developed in Hub Teams. The Hub Team is a yearlong program, where students have access to mentors, seminars and workshops, and project seed funding. Hub team members also have admittance to all four of the following campus incubation stations, each team being affiliated with a specific lab, depending on the nature of their project:

Sustainability Lab

The S-lab is a facility for students interested in developing technology-based innovations in the areas of sustainability, green tech, agriculture tech, food tech, and biotech. Facility consists of a wet-lab in Thimann and Outdoor Greenhouses at UCSC Arboretum.

The OpenLab

The OpenLab is a facility for students interested in developing collaborative projects across the Arts and Sciences, focused on creative and cultural innovation. Sharing facilities with the Baskin Visual Arts Department, students have access to five maker spaces: a woodshop, a metal shop, a state-of-the-art foundry, a studio space, and a 3D Art & Design Digital Lab (The HiVE).

The Everett Program

The Community Media and Mapping Lab is for students interested in developing digital information tools to promote social enterprise. Facilities consist of tech lab space in the Everett Program housed in Social Sciences II.

The VizLab

The VizLab facilitates student engagement in Digital Humanities through the use of visual technologies. The space includes a large-scale visualization wall, Virtual Reality hardware, and advanced graphics software options. In this space, students can develop content and tools to interact virtually with the world, promote cultural and historical sustainability, and change the way we see space. Students will also be able to check out hardware necessary for creating visual content, including 360 cameras, GoPros, and other media capture devices. This lab is housed in the Digital Scholarship Commons in McHenry Library and supported by the University Library and Institute for Humanities Research.

Public invited to first business pitch competition June 7 at 3pm

To mark the start of this new program, the IDEA Hub will be holding its first business pitch competition. Pitch for Social and Creative Enterprise takes place at Hotel Paradox, 611 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, June 7, 3 p.m. Teams (with at least one UCSC student) will pitch their ideas to entrepreneurial judges with expertise in social-benefitting for-profit or non-profit organizations. These projects vary in subject, but all of them address and propose solutions to social issues or are uniquely creative. One of the concerns being addressed at this event is the Santa Cruz housing crisis. MicroPod will be pitching their idea for a new form of sustainable and inexpensive home. Code Naturally is an educational program created to make computer science accessible to elementary and middle school students. These are only two of the fourteen teams who will be pitching their ideas, including water conservation and more sustainable transportation, at the event on June 7.

Winners will present at Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup

The top three winners of the pitch competition will receive cash prizes to seed their business project and will present at the ensuing Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup, which starts at 6 p.m. The Pitch for Social and Creative Enterprise is free and open to the public. IDEA Hub welcomes the Santa Cruz and UCSC community to attend the event and support our student entrepreneurs and their team members from the community.

Financial support for students

If you have a passion for social entrepreneurship but were unable to apply for the Pitch for Social and Creative Enterprise, there are still opportunities for you to participate in this program. Among its many resources, the IDEA Hub also provides financial support to student fellows.

Graduate students can apply for a quarter-length graduate fellowship, including tuition and fees for fall, winter, or spring. Undergraduates and graduating seniors can apply for a 3- to 6-month fellowship. Some additional funds are available for project development. These fellowships are reserved for students working on projects that are past the idea stage, as they are intended to support implementation. The application deadline for the 2017 summer fellowship is June 11. UCSC has also been awarded a 5-year NSF I-Corps Site grant which provides funding for student teams working on STEM innovations. We welcome students from colleges and universities throughout the Santa Cruz area to participate in both the IDEA Hub and NSF I-Corps Site programs.

Community participation welcome

Community Members are welcome to propose problems via our web portal that they would like IDEA Hub teamsto work on and may join these teams to design and implement solutions.

For more information about IDEA Hub, its fellowships, and resources, visit For more information about CIED and the NSF I-Corps Site program, visit