STC and the UNM Innovation Academy kicked off their ninth Rainforest Student Pitch Competition on the evening of March 25 at Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. This popular community event recognizes student entrepreneurs in the state. The pitch competition was an opportunity for aspiring student entrepreneurs to present their innovative ideas for products, services and technologies to local entrepreneurs, investors, and business professionals. The competition is open to currently enrolled students from any university in the state of New Mexico.
In the initial round, students from the University of New Mexico main, Gallup, and Taos campuses submitted video pitches. Judges chose 10 finalists, 9 of whom pitched their innovations in 60-90 second presentations in the final round at Bow & Arrow. The audience voted for one audience choice award of $1,000. A panel of judges (entrepreneurs, investors, and business professionals) chose four of the finalists for a judges’ choice award of $750 each and four for finalist awards of $250 each. Below is the list of winners:
Audience Choice Award ($1,000 prize)
- Molly Schmeltzer and Katherine Brunner, E-merge Technologies, software that integrates data from various financial and accounting software programs to eliminates repetitive tasks for grant writers (undergraduate students, Anderson, UNM main)
Judges’ Choice Award ($750 each)
- Breanna Gonzales, Wildland Women Co., clothing brand for women wildland fire fighters (undergraduate student, University College/Liberal Arts, UNM main)
- Luis G. Hernandez, The Kool Keeper, temperature-regulated shipping materials for the transport of temperature-sensitive products (undergraduate student, Business Administration, UNM main)
- Shelby Ramey, Healthy Pawz, fitbit for dogs that tracks their health concerns (undergraduate student, Business Administration, UNM main)
- Virginia Primozic, CoverJack, a product that relieves the weight and friction of bedding from the legs and feet of bedridden and long-term care patients (graduate student, Business Administration, UNM Gallup)
Finalist Awards ($250)
- Joseph M. Pomo, Building a 3D Printer for the Future!, a fast, multi-functional 3D printer with closed-loop motion feedback (undergraduate student, Mechanical Engineering, UNM main)
- Anna Kuuttila, Smarter Starter, advanced educational products for children, ages 0-4 (graduate student, Business Administration, UNM main)
- Marisol Meyer, Get Rooted, Grow Fresh, customizable, hydroponic growing pods and app (undergraduate student, Architecture, UNM main)
- Mostafa Peysokhane, A Device for Quality Control of the Doped Optical Fibers, a fast quality-control device for doped optical fibers (graduate student, Center for High Technology Materials, UNM main)
STC and the Innovation Academy wish to thank the following panel of judges: Robert Fry, Founder & Principal, Reasonworx Innovation, Kyle Guin, Founder of Pencil-In & Shutter Bombs, and Kyle Sanders, Director of Forecasting & Planning at New Mexico Gas Company.
A big thank you also to the sponsors for the event: Nusenda Credit Union and New Mexico Gas Company for prize money and Bow & Arrow for the space.