The Lobo Rainforest Innovation Academy hosted student entrepreneurs who had the opportunity to pitch ideas in the hopes of winning money toward their creation last Monday, Oct. 28 at Bow and Arrow Brewing Co.

A total of $1,000 was granted that day to the best 90-second pitch, which was determined by the audience.

The event at the Wells Park brewery was filled with about 80 patrons supporting the ten pitch ideas.



The audience voted on "Class Bucks" which garnered the biggest prize of $1,000. The judges decided which four other students received the other prizes of $750 per each creation.

"Class Bucks" was pitched by a team of five people: Santino Hernandez, Isai Navarrete, Mathew Salas, Justin MacDonald and Peter Gloyd — all currently educators at different high schools.

The proposal was created by teachers for teachers to increase engagement in the classroom. It involves a reward system where students can receive virtual tokens that could be used to buy the supplies they need for their classrooms.

"Nowadays about 66% of students are disengaged, and we want to make sure students are participating and learning at the same time," said Navarette, one of the creators of the winning proposal.

Robert Del Campo, the executive director of the Innovation Academy, said the purpose of the event is to give students more practice pitching and introducing their creations through public speaking.

"We’re really trying to get them excited about their own ideas and maybe get a little bit of money. But to start, really it’s about getting them excited about what we can do in the innovation academy to move them along," Del Campo said.

There were ten total contestants pitching their ideas. Other ideas presented revolved around providing a service, such as finding locations for filming via a website/app targeted at film industries visiting New Mexico.

The Innovation Academy is located within Lobo Rainforest. They put on several pitch competitions throughout the year. The next academy is happening on Dec. 2.

Bianca Hoops is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @bianca_hoops