Fresh Ideas Part of UTEP’s Annual Venture Contest

Last year’s winning team was Arsenic Canary from UTEP.

Friday, March 3, 8:30-11:30 a.m., Business Administration Building, rooms 309, 312, 318 and 319
Saturday, March 4, noon to 4 p.m., El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center

A growing number of student competitors from around the region and beyond will bring their business plans to the UTEP campus. Fifteen teams from UTEP, New Mexico State University, Universidad Politécnica de Chihuahua, and Tec de Monterrey Guadalajara will participate in the fifth annual Paso del Norte Venture Competition and Expo.

This is the first year the contest, which is free and open to the public, has included a team from outside the region. Organizers extended an invitation to the Guadalajara institution as part of a pilot program to spark a bigger intellectual exchange among students and mentors.

“Some companies have great ideas and solid business plans, but still fail because they lack critical capital or talent,” said Aaron Cervantes, director of UTEP’s Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce. “This regional collaborative effort will once again connect innovative businesses with resources and networks from the region and beyond, while showcasing the region’s student entrepreneurs.”

The teams, made up of two to five students from different academic disciplines, will compete for the $10,000 grand prize, but also will receive valuable feedback from seasoned investors, venture capitalists, and regional business leaders on how the students should proceed with their ideas.

The competition also has an expo component and an “elevator pitch” competition.

The event is organized by the Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce, a research hub that sponsors, conducts and promotes research in innovation, commerce and entrepreneurship education. Its goal is to grow the region’s economy.