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Young inventors to turn ordinary into extraordinary at NMSU's Innoventure competition

Have what it takes to turn an everyday object into something revolutionary? That's exactly what the organizers of the 2013 Innoventure competition are looking for from middle and high school students in New Mexico. The annual event is hosted by New Mexico State University's Arrowhead Center and takes place March 1 at the Las Cruces Convention Center. The public is invited to the student showcase from 3:15-3:45 p.m.

Innoventure encourages students to use science, engineering and business skills to solve problems. This year, students were asked to take everyday objects and redesign the way they function. With the improvements, students were also asked to make sure their redesigned objects run on solar power, human power or some other form of energy.

"Students learn a lot in classrooms," said Marie Borchert, cofounder and director of the Innoventure program at NMSU. "We try to make what they learn relevant for them. Innoventure works to bridge the gap between school work and real world experiences."

Borchert said the event helps students understand the process of developing technological products from the idea phase to production. It also gives them a foundation of understanding business concepts as they relate to developing a product and marketing it. The competition develops practical skills of problem solving, business writing, teamwork, meeting deadlines and communication.

More than 30 teams, representing 15 different schools, from around New Mexico will compete in this year's competition. Each student team will present projects and will be judged on various components, including general idea, feasibility and presentation. The event's keynote speaker will be Estela Hartley, an NMSU graduate who now owns a consulting company.

"Innoventure's success has grown dramatically in the past few years, which is highlighted by the support we've seen from our sponsors," said Garrey Carruthers, NMSU's vice president for economic development and dean of the College of Business. "Without that support, this program wouldn't be possible."

The lead sponsor for this year's competition is Wells Fargo Bank. Marriott Springhill Suites and FirstLight Federal Credit Union are also sponsoring the competition.

In May 2012, the Innoventure program received a $100,000 boost from a grant awarded by the Daniels Fund. The grant provided the opportunity to grow the competition to include additional students and school participation. The funding will also sustain the programmatic activities of Innoventure throughout each academic year.

For more information about the event, contact Borchert at mhaaland@nmsu.edu or at 575-646-7839.