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Six student startups finish in the money

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Six student startups won $1,000 each Monday night at the University of New Mexico’s latest Elevator Pitch competition.

Prizes went to student teams building businesses with a host of new products and services. Among them, apps to more easily update personal events calendars and better manage finances, a novel medical process to regenerate damaged cartilage, women’s jewelry that doubles as a self-defense device, an animal-friendly cosmetic subscription service and technology for real estate firms to offer clients virtual-reality property tours.

It’s the fourth Elevator Pitch since 2014, when UNM’s Innovation Academy and the Science and Technology Corp., UNM’s tech-transfer office, jointly launched it to inspire student entrepreneurship, said STC head Lisa Kuuttila.

“The quality is going up,” Kuuttila said. “Students are showing more savvy on what ideas to pitch with much stronger delivery than in the past.”

Four of the ten startups that participated in the competition are already operating or preparing for launch.

UNM’s Innovation Academy, which offers students direct experience and real-world skills in entrepreneurship, will be housed at UNM’s planned Innovate ABQ research and development site Downtown, now under construction. Enrollment reached 420 so far this semester, up from 280 last spring, said Academy Director Robert DelCampo.

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