This article is by Ray Chan, Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Portal.

The Portal’s goal is to revolutionize the local startup and business economy. We’ve made good progress, especially in providing experience to students who want to work in the technical field, but this is only one component of the startup world.

We’re teaming up with The Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship as sponsors of the 2017 New Venture Competition in order to bring an even greater impact to the community. We’re offering up $2,000 in matching services to each of the four winning teams for a total of $8,000 in order to help students build out their ideas.

The competition is currently in its 11th year, but this has been one of the first years that the competition has been opened to students outside of the Paul Merage School of Business, and the response has been overwhelming. Almost 90 teams submitted the first business plan, and 41 final teams remain to give their final presentations.

We want to provide students with the opportunity to take the next steps toward building their businesses. The Portal’s students will provide critical resources in web and mobile development, design, and accounting. It’s important to the success and growth of their plan that they have access to the resources that will bring them to the next steps.

The New Venture Competition is an opportunity for all of these student teams, along with those working at The Portal, to experience first-hand what it takes to create a successful business.

All of our current students have been carefully selected and highly trained by industry professionals, and they’ll be working on building and making the products and solutions that the teams from the New Venture Competition have been developing. Each of their deliverables will be architected and approved by their professional mentors.

Not only will The Portal help the students bring their ideas to life, we’ll also help bring them to the next level.

Experiential learning is the key to helping people develop the skills that will make them successful on their career paths. We hope that events like The New Venture Competition will inspire the students to continue learning and innovating.

About The Portal:

The Portal is an Irvine-based non-profit social enterprise whose goal is to revolutionize the local startup and business economy by turning technical talent into experienced hires. Students in the apprenticeship program receive mentorship from, and work directly with, industry professionals. With a focus on experiential learning and on-the-job training, The Portal aims to provide students with valuable work experience that complements what they learn in school and an opportunity to exercise ideas they encounter in their classes. Through leadership opportunities, the chance to work on live projects, and connections to local leaders and innovators, The Portal hopes to inspire the next generation of thinkers and doers.

About The Beall Center for Innovation and Excellence:

One of seven Centers of Excellence at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business, the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship was established to help business visionaries transfer their ideas into viable business opportunities, either in new ventures or within existing organizations. Students can engage with the Center through curricular programs offered including a Minor in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or through programs like the New Venture Competition. Through leadership, education, and potential partnerships, the Center creates an environment that fosters a connection among world-class UC Irvine researchers, innovative visionaries, savvy business leaders, creative venture capitalists and pivotal business channels. This connection inspires innovation and entrepreneurship, and provides the hands-on opportunities for students to learn. Find out more on The Beall Center for Innovation and Excellence website.

This article was originally published on Medium, May 11, 2017.