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NMSU Arrowhead Center’s Innoventure program to host K-12 Business Pitch competition

If your kids are trying to sell you their latest invention at the dinner table, let them try to sell it to a larger audience by participating in Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University’s new and free-to-enter K-12 Business Pitch competition.


Girl holding and pointing to a container filled with red liquid
Innoventure High School Challenge participant Bella Roy, a student at Portales High School, describes the prototype she and teammate Nakia Jackson created in 2019 for the “Nice Needle,” a device to make getting a shot less scary for children. The Innoventure program at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center is hosting a new competition for elementary, middle and high school students in the Las Cruces area who have a business idea. (NMSU photo by Justin Santiago)

“We are looking for real ideas, like a unique angle on a slime business, new ideas about sneaker re-selling, or a desire to make beautiful necklaces,” said Lydia Hammond, deputy director of Arrowhead Center’s K-12 program, Innoventure. “It can be a new idea or a business idea that they are already working on. We want them to take pride in owning their idea, and to learn be comfortable standing up and sharing their ideas with the world.”

The new competition is for elementary, middle and high school students in the Las Cruces area who have a business idea and want to get a chance to pitch it to win prizes, and maybe local support by getting their product, name or website out to the community. The competition is supported by Arrowhead Center along with community co-sponsors Doña Ana Community College, the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, City of Las Cruces Economic Development Office, Kids Can of Community Action Agency and The Bridge of Southern New Mexico.

“There are no themes or specific design structure for the business,” Hammond said. “The pitch itself will be done via video and the student, or business team, must complete a simple business plan, with the complexity of the plan varying by age.”

There will be two Zoom classes for participants to help student with their submissions. They will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 14. More information and a link to register can be found at http://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/innoventure/pitch.

“You may not know all there is to know about business planning, pitching an idea or videography and that’s OK,” said April Christensen, founder of the Kids Can youth entrepreneur program. “We are here to guide you through the process with our two-part workshop.”

First-, second- and third-place winners for elementary, middle school and high school levels will receive tech prizes such as laptops and tablets. At the high school level, the first-place business idea will also win a yearlong mentorship with industry experts, thanks to the Las Cruces Greater Chamber of Commerce.

The competition will be held in October. Registration will open Oct. 1 and students must submit their pitch video and simple business plan by Oct. 30 to be considered for prizes.