Tonight, the UCSB Technology Management Program will host its orientation session for the 14th annual New Venture Competition at Broida Hall, supplying students with preliminary information about the entrepreneurial contest which will take place in May 2013.

The informational meeting, which will be from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in room 1610 of Broida, will welcome students of all majors and levels of business experience — including those with no experience — to gain counseling and instruction regarding the annual competition. The New Venture Competition is a multidisciplinary contest in which students create innovative ventures, such as technical inventions or cutting-edge business models, to showcase their ideas to a panel of corporate executives and venture capitalists for a chance at prizes totaling $75,000. It also offers students the opportunity to develop valuable real-world networks by pitching ideas to potential investors. Entrepreneurial advising sessions, lectures on corporate practices and other instructive seminars in anticipation of the contest will begin next Tuesday with the first seminar.

Steve Cooper, a previous mentor of the program and local corporate executive, said students competing in New Venture can learn how to give quick and clear pitches that market their concepts well, which he said is a great asset to have in the business world.

“[A good pitch is something] everyone should have ready at all times if they expect to start a company with customers and investors,” Cooper said in an email.

Cooper added that participants in the past have used their newly learned business skills for their post-graduate career endeavors.

“I can say that the experience of being in the competition prepares participants to be more effective in whatever business they decide to pursue, whether as a founder or an employee in small companies or large,” Cooper said.

This year, there are three main awards available: “Reach for the Stars,” which recognizes business ideas that are not fully developed but show great potential for market success, “Ready for Launch” — which is given to businesses ready for start-up — and “People’s Choice,” which is awarded to business proposals elected by audience member votes.

For details on how to participate in the competition, contact the Program Manager of the UCSB Technology Management Program, Mike Panesis, at