Man sitting on a bench
Metta World Peace Photo credit: Vincent Tullo

The ANTrepreneur Center at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) has announced a special three-part event titled the Hacking Student Success: Mental Health Innovation Challenge. Centered on the theme of supporting student success by addressing mental health challenges, the event will invite UCI students to form teams, develop original business ideas, and compete for funding to bring their ideas to life. The event will take place over three days during mental health awareness month (May 11, 18, and 25), during which students will receive seed funding and support from the ANTrepreneur Center to refine their ideas. The Hacking Student Success event series will culminate in a pitch competition where three judges prizes of $2,500 will be awarded, as well as five winning teams that will be awarded additional funding of $5,000, and receive entry to a summer program to further develop their ideas. The five winning teams will go on to pitch their ideas to the UCI student body for the chance to win $20,000+ in funding to create a product that will then be launched across campus for user testing and feedback.

Students participating in this event will have the opportunity to hear from industry professionals and other exciting speakers, including Metta World Peace, NBA champion, founder of XvsX Sports, and chief impact director of OOTify. World Peace will deliver his keynote address on UCI’s campus during the May 25th event. He will also share how becoming an entrepreneur helped him overcome his mental health struggles in a series of special videos that will be shown at the May 11 and 18 events.

The ANTrepreneur Center recently announced that Hacking Student Success will also partner with Amazon Web Services (AWS) through the Digital Innovation for Health Equity Cloud Innovation Center (CIC) out of UC Davis. Dedicated to fostering innovation to address healthcare’s biggest challenges, the CIC will help student teams flesh out their business ideas and facilitate the prototyping of solutions.

Ryan Foland, Interim Director of the ANTrepreneur Center, explains:

“This event is notable because it offers all UCI students the chance to explore the process and possibilities of entrepreneurship. But Hacking Student Success is just as much about having serious conversations about mental health as it is about entrepreneurship. At the end of the day, we want to show students that they have the ability to use their innovative thinking and unique strengths to make a positive impact on the lives of others.”

Hacking Student Success is made possible by sponsorship from the UCI Office of Data and Information Technology, UCI Wellness, Health, & Counseling Services, UCI Graduate Division, UCI Division of Undergraduate Education, Blackstone LaunchaPad, Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute, UCI Beall Applied Innovation, Sigma Computing, OOTify, XvsX Sports, UC Davis + AWS Cloud Innovation Center, AWS, and SmartWell.

Hacking Student Success will kick off on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at the ANTrepreneur Center. Visit the ANTrepreneur Center website for more information.