From health care tech to drones, business competition fosters innovation


Courtesy of UTEP

The MLCIC Business Competition consists of teams (ranging from 1 to 6 members) attending a series of workshops led by subject matter experts on the Business Model Canvas.

Sven Kline, Contributor

On its third year, the Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce has returned once again with its four week-long business pitch competition, a contest between  groups of students competing with business ideas for a cash reward in funding and the opportunity to network.

Sponsored by Studio G, the competition is currently being held virtually as teams workshop their ideas for a chance to win $1,700 to utilize for their business venture. Formed with the intent of aiding entrepreneurial university students and alumni, Omar Delgado, research coordinator at the Mike Loya Center who also oversees Studio G, said the competitions  “are designed to provide learning, funding, and networking opportunities to student entrepreneurs from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds.”

“Students may use the cash awards from the competition to help fund imminent tasks in their venture’s trajectories,” Delgado said.  “Furthermore, candidates will enhance their business pitch, which will improve their effectiveness in pitching to potential investors. A winning pitch is essential to all entrepreneurs as they embark on seeking investments from funding entities, such as angel investors and venture capitalists.”

This year’s cohort consists of three teams; the INIIB, Triple L, and the ASIRA Technologies LLC.

“(Our idea) is a tangible anatomical model made with a 3D printer (3D X-Ray Model) for your doctor and the patient to have a clear understanding of what is happening inside your body before a surgery,”  said Jesus De Pablo of team INIIB.  “Additionally, if you need a prosthesis for the surgery, like a cranial plate, with the anatomical model that we previously made, we will 3D print it and make sure it is an almost perfect fit for your body.”

According to De Pablo, the anatomical model and prosthesis will give doctors a visible outlook before surgery, reducing patient’s recovery and surgeons operating room time.

“We strongly believe the path we are taking along with research, will be the future of diagnostic imaging,” De Pablo said,

Triple L on the other hand is focusing on developing a business with a strong consumer relationship by developing a car wash mobile application.

“Our business idea is a platform to self-employ people to wash cars based on the customer’s location, using ecological products. Think about Uber but implementing the concept of car washing,” said Alan Lopez a UTEP graduate student part of the Triple L team

Triple L’s goal is to make its business appealing to both the consumer and the employee, Lopez explained.  Consumers will benefit from  having an ecological car wash delivered to their home, while employees will have the flexibility to work according to their own schedule.

“We believe that creating a mobile application will establish a stronger consumer relationship. Especially using the idea of geolocation, because then we can notify them about our service directly to their phones when we are at a close distance,”  Lopez said, believing his team’s business idea will be most appealing to the judges.  “Our generation has a greater awareness to environmental changes; therefore, our service will appeal to its caring for the planet.”

The ASIRA Technologies LLC’s business idea consists of two parts, as explained by team member Daniel Rios, the “services” and “products.

“The services are drone mapping and land surveying using the latest technology in drone and processing this information into a project management software,” Rios said.  “Our products will be that part of the revenue from the services will help  fund innovations in drone technology and its applications into dangerous situations such as fires, gas contamination, search and rescue”

Rios and the rest of the team, hope their business idea can also appeal to UTEP students who may be interested in the topic of drones.

“The use implementation of drone technology is becoming more evident in many parts of the country and we believe it is a technology that will keep going,” Rios said.  “With this business idea, we could offer jobs, opportunities to UTEP students interested in this area and keep innovating this type of technology.”

Though only one  team have the chance to win the  funding prize, all teams have the potential to win bonus prizes for participating and the opportunity to   learn valuable skills in the business field.

“Candidates receive valuable guidance and feedback from subject matter experts from the Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce and Studio G, as well as from the startup experts comprising the judging panel,”  Delgado said.  “The teams gain valuable knowledge and experience to present at other pitch competitions within the program, as well as in local, state, and nationwide competitions.”

With a plethora of candidates and ideas, this year’s  participants, soon to be determined winners, are set to bring innovative ideas and jobs to the local community.

The cohort meets virtually every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the four weeks of October from 3 p.m.  to 5 p.m.

Sven Kline can be reached at [email protected]; @SvenKline on Twitter.