Business competition participant on Zoom meeting

Warren Roybal, a contestant in the Highlands Department of Business Administration’s COWBOY UP! business pitch competition explains his winning concept, Cycler, a community bike rental idea. during an April 19 virtual awards ceremony.

LAS VEGAS, NM – Five people won a combined $5,000 in seed money for their business ideas during Highlands University’s Department of Business Administration’s first ever business pitch competition.

The awards ceremony for the competition, COWBOY UP!, was conducted virtually April 19.

“We were amazed reviewing the submitted pitches, which ranged from initiatives to help the community to technical solutions,” said D. Veena Parboteeah, dean of the university’s School of Business, Media and Technology. “Our five prize winners had great ideas.”

The five winners and their business concepts were:

  • 1st prize – $2,500 – Warren Roybal (Cycler),
  • 2nd prize – $1,000 – Carol Linder (Women in Science Excelling-WISE),
  • 3rd prize – $750 – Melissa Smith-Wilkinson (Caregiver Wellness Retreat: Preventative Wellness Support Services),
  • 4th prize – $500 – Jewll Powdrell (Fetera Energy Inc.),
  • 5th prize – $250 – Yvette Galaviz (Shamoko).

“The winning submission was not only entrepreneurial, but also promoted positive social change by encouraging health and wellness in our community,” said Rodney Sanchez, an instructor of management and entrepreneurship in the Department of Business Administration and an organizer of the pitch competition. Sanchez said the winning concept was Cycler, a community bike rental idea.

“All involved in the competition were extremely impressed by the quality of participants and their ideas, which is a testament to entrepreneurial spirit of Highlands and Northern New Mexico,” said another organizer of the competition, Heath Anderson, a marketing instructor in the Department of Business Administration.

Yvette Galaviz, who won fifth place and was one of the 27 entrants in this year’s competition, said the found the process inspiring.

“It gave me the vote of confidence needed to move forward and execute my idea,” Galaviz said.

The organizers plan to make the business pitch competition an annual event, open to everyone.

“We want to start a tradition that celebrates and encourages entrepreneurship in our community,” Anderson said. “The annual COWYBOY UP! business pitch competition is an extension of Highlands commitment to entrepreneurship and our Entrepreneurship program at the undergrad and MBA levels.”