UNM Rainforest Innovations

The 2024 Pitch Deck Competition is an early-stage pitch competition bringing together university entrepreneurs from all over New Mexico for chance to win $20,000 in cash prizes for promising business models.

Hosted by the UNM Innovation Academy and UNM Rainforest Innovations, the competition seeks early-stage business models that demonstrate a market-tested ability to adapt to customers’ needs. It is open to teams led by one or more students enrolled in a New Mexico college or university.

The 2024 Pitch Deck Competition is an experiential learning opportunity for would-be student entrepreneurs who are contemplating, starting, or operating an early stage venture, and who are looking to improve their pitching skills, with the potential to earn seed funding for their business model.

No business plan required for this competition.

You just need 15 or fewer slides to compete, along with a great idea!

Students register for the competition by submitting a video and preliminary pitch deck for review by a team of judges. Five finalists* will be selected to present live at the Lobo Rainforest Building to a panel of judges. The cash prizes are: winning team, $10,000, second place team, $5,000, and third place, $2,500 and 2 finalists, $1,250 each.

*Finalists will have access to and are required to use resources to help prepare for the Finals including pitch coaching.

Who Qualifies?

The 2024 Pitch Deck Competition is open to university students in the state of New Mexico with a thought-out business idea. Students must be currently enrolled at a New Mexico university.

Student Team

Competing teams should consist of at least one and no more than three college students who are enrolled part-time (minimum of 6 credit hours) or full-time in a semester during the competition year.

Prior Activity

Students may compete in the competition multiple times provided they have not been chosen as finalists in previous iA/UNMRI pitch deck competitions. 

Why enter the contest?
  • Cash prizes
  • Learn how to effectively plan a business model
  • Learn how to attract investors
  • Network with successful entrepreneurs 
Submission Criteria for First Round

Record a 5 minute video of a student or team of students delivering a pitch deck for your business model or idea. Videos should capture student(s) delivering the pitch to the camera. Please be sure to record the video in a reasonably quiet environment to make it easier for the judges to hear and understand. Avoid recording outdoors or in loud hallways. The 5 minute video file and preliminary pitch deck file must be submitted with the application. 

Final Round

Finalists will present a 10 minute pitch deck with 5 additional minutes of question and answer in front of a panel of judges in-person at the Lobo Rainforest Building. Winners will be determined by a panel of judges.  All finalists will receive a cash prize.

Judging is Based On
  • Presentation Skills
    • Delivery (voice, eye contact, etc.)
    • Slides/handout (if applicable)
  • Content (connected the dots, etc.)
    • Product and/or service
    • Problem they solve
    • Target market, ideal customer
    • Competitors
    • Price, costs, profit
    • Marketing strategy
    • Investment, use of funds
    • What’s the deal
  • Overall presentation
    • Persuasive, convincing
    • Connected the dots
    • Creativity 
Pitch Time

Finalists who move onto the Final Round will be allowed a maximum of 10 minutes for their presentation with an additional 5 minutes for Question and Answer by the judges.

Application period will open mid-2024

Students register for the competition by submitting a video and preliminary pitch deck for review by a team of judges. 

Join us at the Finals!

Thursday, December 5, 2024 at 4:00pm-6:30pm | Lobo Rainforest Building

Family, Friends and supporters are invited to attend the final rounds in-person at the Lobo Rainforest Building to hear the five finalists pitch to investor judges!

Registration will open soon.


  • The decisions of the judges are final.
  • All federal, state and local taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the winners.  All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.
  • By entering in the competition, the contestants give permission to UNM Rainforest Innovations, the University of New Mexico, the UNM Innovation Academy and Innovate New Mexico to use the names of the winners and their project for publicity and/or trade purposes without further compensation unless prohibited by law. Contestants grant permission to UNM Rainforest Innovations and the University(ies) to record and publicize their oral and written presentations, in whole or in part.  All submitted materials become the property of the UNM Rainforest Innovations and the University and will not be returned to the contestants.
  • Contestants and any business entities associated with them release and discharge UNM Rainforest Innovations, The University of New Mexico, the UNM Innovation Academy and Innovate New Mexico, the judges, and prize sponsors, from any and all liability associated with participating in the Comcast Pitch Deck Competition and with the start-up and operation of any businesses described in the business plans.
  • Contestants should not present any information to the judges, orally or in writing, which they deem to be confidential, proprietary, or commercially sensitive. Information presented will not be kept secret.
  • Contestants cannot submit an idea that the contestant(s) presented at a past Comcast Pitch Deck Competition if selected as finalist and presented in the final round.
  • UNM Rainforest Innovations may need to limit the number of presenters due to space and time. UNM Rainforest Innovations reserves the right to select First Round presenters. 


If you have any questions, reach out to Cara Michaliszyn:

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