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An Entrepreneur’s Journey – EDA NM Rainforest University Center

virginiaprimIn March 2019, the EDA NM Rainforest University Center kicked off its first seminar at UNM-Gallup on “How to Generate a Business Idea” presented by Sandra Begay. In that Gallup auditorium sat, Virginia Primozic, a UNM student, aspiring artist and entrepreneur. Inspired by the seminars and resources provided by the University Center, Virginia embarked on a new entrepreneurial journey. As one of the most dedicated initial participants in the NM Rainforest University Center Program, Virginia earned her Entrepreneurial Capabilities Certificate in December 2019 for attending 7 or more University Center seminars throughout the year and successfully completing their associated quizzes. In addition to earning her certificate, as a UNM student, Virginia was able to participate in the Lobo Rainforest NSF I-Corp Site Program to engage in 10 weeks of customer discovery regarding her invention the “CoverJack.”

Before becoming a part of the University Center, Virginia had helped her sister with the role of “caregiver” for their bed-ridden mother. As caregivers, they noticed the problem of bedsores that their mother faced from having to lie down in bed and under the covers all day. From this problem, Virginia’s business venture and invention of the “CoverJack” was born. The CoverJack was a device that Virginia and her sister created that patient’s bedding could be placed over in order to create a tent for the feet, eliminating the weight of bedding, reducing points of contact and friction on the bed ridden patient. This allowed for the caregiver to adjust the canopy for a customized fit in an effort to reduce bed sores.

During the I-Corp program, Virginia engaged in customer discovery research and worked with UNM Rainforest Innovations to try and patent the CoverJack. Unfortunately, after a year, it was decided that the invention was not a profitable pursuit. Despite this disappointment, Virginia had other entrepreneurial interests that she was pursuing alongside her idea for the CoverJack.

In addition to earning her Entrepreneurial Capabilities Certificate and participating in NSF I-Corp, Virginia enrolled in the Create.Sell.Bank! class provided by University Center and the Innovation Academy. Her main purpose for taking the class was to learn more about online marketing, hoping some of what was taught in the course would overlap with her art business. Through the help of Create.Sell.Bank!, Virginia was able to use strategies from the class to create a website and sell her art online.

Since this entire sequence of events, Virginia’s brilliant art career is getting off the ground and she has been included in a few exhibitions and had a one-woman show at Gallery ABQ in March 2021.

Virginia’s story and involvement with the EDA NM Rainforest University Center is a true success story as well a genuine portrayal of the entrepreneurial journey with twists and turns, pivots, a few setbacks & disappointments, ultimately resulting in successes. Virginia saw the various opportunities in front of her and seized them all in order to bring her goals and ambitions to fruition.

When asked about her experience with the NM Rainforest University Center, Virginia states:

“I’m really glad I took the Create.Sell.Bank! class, and remain grateful to be included in the Rainforest opportunity. I learned a lot. Our mentor and all the speakers were very encouraging.”

If you are interested in seeing where Virginia is at on her journey today, check out her artist website https://www.virginiaprimozic.com/.

If you are interested in starting an entrepreneurial journey of your own or would like support on your current endeavors check out the EDA NM Rainforest University Center or email Cecilia Pacheco at cpacheco@innovations.unm.edu for more information.

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