ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — University of New Mexico freshmen are lining up for a “Shark Tank Talk” class that preps them to pitch to real-world investors.
Inspired by ABC’s “Shark Tank” show and intended to be “a practice run” for students, the products students pitch are sometimes real, sometimes fake, said Robert DelCampo, director of UNM’s Innovation Academy and professor of the Anderson School of Management.
The goal is to hone students’ public speaking skills and their business savvy, he said. There isn’t real money on the table.
“It’s been so popular we spun it out to a business boot camp,” he said.
Initially capped at 30 students per semester, UNM is doubling capacity in the class to accommodate student interest.
DelCampo said the practice is paying off.
“These students have gone on to participate in Startup Weekends” around Albuquerque, he said. Startup Weekend starts with people pitching their ideas and getting feedback from peers. Teams form around the top ideas and then spend he next three days moving those ideas forward. The weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders.
“They are going in and winning these things,” Del Camp said of his students.
Innovate Academy is a new academic program to provide entrepreneurial training to students who want to start companies.