UNM students earn seed funding for business ideas despite social distancing
No first-round feedback, no live finals, and no meetings with mentors and pitch coaches didn’t stop UNM students from submitting 41 ideas to the Spring 2020 Lobo Rainforest Pitch Competition. This year the competition was completely virtual, and students were given one chance to submit a 90-second pitch to be judged by industry leaders. The results are in and 10 students were awarded their share of the $4,750 prize pool.
“Typically, we have an event with an audience vote, but it was really important to us to keep student momentum for innovation moving forward, so we decided to offer the program online with 3 top prizes of $1,000 and $250 to the remaining finalists. We had just about the same number of submissions we have for the face-to-face event, so we were thrilled!” said Rob DelCampo, executive director of UNM’s Innovation Academy.
The top three prizewinners of $1,000 include:
- mechanical engineering graduate student Anthony Menicucci for Cloudshine, ArmaTech LLC, a product designed to predict solar irradiance;
- biochemistry graduate student Amelia Bierle for Disinfect Right to Fight, a cleaning solution that goes on red to help ensure the surface is fully saturated for proper disinfection;
- undergraduate chemical engineering and international studies studen Tina Memariant, for the Retractable Smart Syringe, a syringe that automatically retracts to lessen the chance of accidents and/or re-use.
The seven remaining finalists will each receive $250.
“It is wonderful to see you such a wide variety of student pictures in the competition. They range from research projects to newly generated student ideas. This will lead to long-term growth of new business in our state,” added Lisa Kuutila, CEO and Chief Economic Development officer for STC.UNM.
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