The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Aggie Shark Tank brings fin-tastic opportunities for borderplex students

The Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship hosts NMSUs very own Shark Tank for the Aggies.
Carlos Herrera
The Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship hosts NMSU’s very own Shark Tank for the Aggies.

Sponsored by the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship, the Arrowhead Center held its eighth annual Aggie Shark Tank. The business adventure took place on Oct. 5, 2023, at New Mexico State University’s Center for the Arts.

The Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship has operated for seven years, offering students the chance to develop and strengthen their entrepreneurial skills with the help of experienced advisors and new technology.

Created through a $2.5 million donation from the Hunt Family Foundation, the Hunt Center focuses on creating financial and exciting opportunities for students such as the, now traditional, Aggie Shark Tank.

The main idea of the event is for students to have the opportunity to pitch business ideas to borderland expert investors for real financial funding for their projects.

“I love innovation and I’m happy to be part of this and get support from community,” said Ebetuel “Beto” Pallares. Pallares is a management consultant with experience in start-up entrepreneurial ventures.

The student entrepreneurs had five minutes to present their business idea to a distinguished panel of judges. The presentation is followed by a somewhat intense Q&A session from the so-called sharks for them to get a better idea of their business model and determine if they are “in or out”.

As the name suggests, the event mirrors the popular ABC reality show Shark Tank. Just like in the show, notable entrepreneurs sit down to experience each participant’s dream projects.

This years’ borderland sharks were Ebetuel “Beto” Pallares, Angelica Maestas, Isaac Romo and Alejandro Muñoz.

The 2023 edition featured projects by students from NMSU and the University of Texas at El Paso, all of which represent the borderplex region of Las Cruces, El Paso, and Ciudad Juárez.

The six finalists prepared intensely for 16 weeks with the help of experienced advisors in hopes of being selected by the group of external judges.

Student entrepreneur presents his business idea to a tank of sharks at the the Arrowhead Center. 5, 2023 (Carlos Herrera)

This year’s awards were $5 thousand for the first place and $1 thousand for the crowd favorite.

The shark favorite is selected by a unanimous vote from all four sharks while the crowd favorite is chosen by the audience members through the scanning of a QR code.

The winners were NMSU alumnus Miguel Rico (Tattoo Ink.) as the crowd favorite and Adriana Garcia, a Masters of Business Administration student of NMSU, taking home the win as the panel of judges’ favorite.

Garcia’s startup, BacLog, consists of advanced, game-changing technology that can be used for sporting events and large venues to track attendees’ alcohol consumption. This will, in turn, place focus on responsible drinking that can avoid any liability issue that poses a threat to the safety of attendants.

The event was also characterized by cheeky shark puns along with a committed shark mascot that livened up the event.

As stated by the panel of judges, all startups were worthy of praise and had something to bring to the table.

“It’s so jawsome,” said Angelica Maestas humorously. Maestas is a health tech entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in business development, operations and analytics.

The other student startups presented were Miguel Rico with Tattoo Ink., Sebastian Delgado with Doski Design Studio, Ruben Mena with YachtNotes, Maximo Gamez with Acemate and Frankie Montoya with Montoya Industries.

“Seeing different faces and a varied entrepreneurial ecosystem is interesting and exciting,” said Alejandro Muñoz, the managing director of No Border Ventures.

Assistance and guidance can also be provided by the sharks regardless of the shark favorite that is to take the win, as was the case of Sebastian Delgado.

His startup, Doski Design Studio, features a shoe design that prioritizes conscious practices. As a shoe designer himself, he creates sophisticated sneakers that are made with disposed pairs of shoes that end up in landfills. He garnered the attention and financial commitment of both Beto Pallares and Alejandro Muñoz.

Towards the end of the event, the sharks were asked to offer some words of advice to the participants which were received warmly by the students.

“Having a good vision and knowing exactly where you’re going is the most important thing,” said Pallares.

The pitches were presented at around 4:10 p.m. with the winners announced at around 6:20 p.m. A reception was held after the event.

For more information about Aggie Shark Tank and other entrepreneurial opportunities, visit the Arrowhead Center website.

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About the Contributors
Andrea Vasquez, Staff Writer
Andrea Vasquez is a second semester transfer senior at New Mexico State University, majoring in Journalism and Media Studies. Although she was born in Mexico, her life has been shaped by the border experience and having the chance to be part of a tri-city adventure (Juarez, El Paso, Las Cruces). She previously attended El Paso Community College and Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. In 2022, she interned at KTSM Channel 9 News in El Paso, Texas and completed a photography internship at The Santa Fe New Mexican during the summer of 2023. She also participates in NMSU’s student broadcast News 22 as a Spanish anchor and producer for Noticias 22. She intends to pursue a career in the journalism field as both a reporter and a photographer. She is entering her first semester at The Round Up as a staff writer and photographer. For her, having the opportunity to learn and contribute to the NMSU community is a great privilege that she does not take for granted. Journalism offers a chance to observe events closely and more professionally, but disconnecting is also important for her. She likes to enjoy outdoor activities as well as spending time with family and friends and catching up with series and documentaries.
Carlos Herrera, Multimedia Specialist
Carlos Herrera is entering his second year at The Round Up as a Multimedia Specialist. He is currently a senior in his undergraduate degree in Information Communication Technology. Carlos is looking forward to this year in expanding his love for graphic design and perfecting his photography while capturing "those big Aggie moments". He enjoys being active in everything he does, and also enjoys spending time with those important to him in his downtime.

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