CMU students earn seed money for best business pitches

Two students who hope to bring to market a new medical device designed to improve mobility for the disabled were the latest winners of an annual elevator pitch competition at Colorado Mesa University.

Marshall Anderson and Ryan Bengford placed first in the event, conducted as part of Entrepreneurship Day at CMU.

Three finalists had 90 seconds each to present their business ideas during the E Day luncheon. Attendees at the luncheon used their cell phones to vote for what they considered the best pitch.

Anderson and Bengford presented their idea for C-WAM and an assisted mobility device for paralyzed patients. The patented device would serve as a kind of exo-skeleton that would assist in walking. Anderson and Benford collaborated with engineering students at CMU on the project.

Brandon Burton, Sean Foster and Johnny Nitti placed second for their pitch for Rocky Mountain Siriachi. The three students are working with a local entrepreneur to manufacture hot sauce made with natural ingredients. They hope to raise money for their efforts with a crowdfunding campaign scheduled to begin in May on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter offers an online venue in which people present their ideas and those who like the project offer them money.

Derick Lynch placed third in the competition with his pitch for Elite Running, a specialty running shoe store with a unique business model.

Lynch hopes to sell club memberships for $1 a day, a fee that enables members to receive new running shoes every three months.

Anderson and Bengford won $750 in seed money for their venture. Burton, Foster and Nitti won $500 and Lynch $250.