Each semester, in partnership with UNM Rainforest Innovations, the Innovation Academy hosts the Rainforest Pitch Competition at Bow and Arrow Brewing Company in Downtown Albuquerque.

Students of all majors from any New Mexico university create a 90 second video pitch. The top ten finalist pitch their entrepreneurial ideas for a live audience and judges, hoping to earn votes and win seed funding from a prize pool of $1000.

Rainforest Pitch Competition winners have gone on to create legitimate businesses and are continuing to produce revenue streams.

For more information and to submit your pitch video please visit the Rainforest Pitch Competition page.


The Tech Navigator Challenge is an annual competition that takes place in the Spring semester. Students come together in teams to develop a commercialization plan for an assigned technology from one of our partners.

In Spring 2023 In 2023, the winning team, comprised of Anderson graduate students, was assigned a magnetic smart tagging technology designed for monitoring assets developed at Sandia National Labs. They pitched a plan to utilize the technology to create a tag embedded in uniforms that can notify employees of potential hazards to help prevent accidents. The team is collaborating with Sandia and their mentor to license the technology and take the next steps in creating the business.

The Tech Navigator Challenge will continue to grow, and we look forward to seeing what new ideas our students come up with next spring.

For more information and to apply for the please visit the Tech Nav Challenge website.


The Disney College Program is an incredible opportunity for UNM students that offers paid internships at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. This provides students an unique opportunity to live with students from all over the world, learn hands-on from Disney experts, and earn a paycheck too!

Students can earn up to nine credit hours for their participation in the program, dependent on the length of internship. They can also earn 3 hours for completing Disney Leadership Lessons taught by our Disney Faculty Partner, Tiffini Porter-Aragon.

Many of our Disney College Program students have gone on to work for the Walt Disney Company in roles ranging from Entertainment and Merchandising, to Theme Park Management and Imagineering.

For more information email DCP Faculty Partner Tiffini Porter-Aragon.


The Pitch Deck Competition is an early-stage pitch competition bringing together university entrepreneurs from all over New Mexico for chance to win $20,000 in cash prizes for promising business models.

Hosted in partnership with UNM Rainforest Innovations, the competition seeks early-stage business models that demonstrate a market-tested ability to adapt to customers’ needs. It is open to teams led by one or more students enrolled in a New Mexico college or university.

The Pitch Deck Competition is an experiential learning opportunity for would-be student entrepreneurs who are contemplating, starting, or operating an early stage venture, and who are looking to improve their pitching skills, with the potential to earn seed funding for their business model.

No business plan required for this competition. You just need 15 or fewer slides to compete, along with a great idea!

For more information please visit


The Innovation Scholars Designation is designed to award students with an academic honor for infusing innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship into their time at UNM.

The Innovation Scholars Designation is available for all graduating Innovation Academy students in all academic levels (undergraduate/graduate). There are no specific requirements to earn an Innovation Scholars Designation, students are just asked to apply during their last year/semester of their degree program. The application asks students to list what Innovation Academy programs/classes they have participated in, and how they have included innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship in their degree.

Students who are awarded the honor will be given turquoise and black honors cords to proudly display at graduation!

Fill out the Innovation Scholars application.

For more information email Rebecca Rodriguez.


Partnership between the Innovation Academy and UNM Rainforest Innovations with a mission to serve more than just Albuquerque-area student entrepreneurs. After UNM Rainforest Innovations was awarded a University Center Grant from the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA), we began to develop plans to spread the Lobo Rainforest programming to all areas of the state of New Mexico. The grant will be funded for 5 years, in the amount of $112,800 per year.

We took our successful model for the Create. Sell. Bank. course and adapted it to an online format that is accessible to anyone. Students may choose to pay tuition and take the course for credit or take it (along with any interested community members) for free.

The program is now available at all UNM branch campuses, located in Gallup, Los Alamos, Taos, and Valencia.

For more information visit the Rainforest University Center page on the Lobo Rainforest site.