How long does it take to earn $1,000? For students competing in the biannual Rainforest Pitch Competition, it only takes 90 seconds (plus a good business idea).
More than 60 New Mexico college students submitted their video pitches for a chance to win seed funding. This semester the business ideas included an application to find affordable student housing, outsourcing home organization, and horse behavior rehabilitation. Industry expert judges selected the top 10 pitches to win seed funding for their business ideas.
"We were thrilled to see so many folks submit their pitches for the Spring 2022 virtual Rainforest Pitch Competition,” said Rob DelCampo, UNM Innovation Academy executive director. “The students always impress us with their energy and drive to create innovative solutions to obstacles that many people deal with on a daily basis."
The top three pitches won the Judges’ Choice Winner prize of $1,000. The first winning entry was “LEGARD” – a biofeedback rehabilitation device, pitched by Elias Rosales. The second winner was a pitch for “ASH – Affordable Student Houses,” which is an application to help students locate affordable options to live while in college. ASH was pitched by Anthony Wallace on behalf of his team, which includes Amelia Bierle and Michael Miller. The third winner was “Telluride Medical Solutions” pitched by Dharish Totiger which focuses on providing patients in emergency medical situations with easy, inexpensive, and disposable pain medication.
The seven remaining pitches were each awarded $250 as finalists and given feedback from the judges. Those finalists were Mingyang Zhang for “UNMSemiLab,” Aniyah Augmon for “Glamour Guard,” Abu Bakar Siddique & Dheeman Saha for “UNM Builders – Personal Mouse,” Sara Fuchs for “Sara’s Horse School,” Karlann Harms for “Karly’s Klosets,” Damian Lopez for “Coffee2,” and Heidi Garcia for “G.P Real Estate Investment Brokerage.”
The Rainforest Pitch Competition is a biannual event put on by the UNM Innovation Academy and UNM Rainforest Innovations. For more information, visit Rainforest Innovations.