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Engineering-led team wins UNM Business Plan Competition

April 19, 2017 - By Kim Delker

A team led by students in the School of Engineering won the top prize at the annual UNM Business Plan Competition, held earlier this month.

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The top $25,000 technology prize went to Sandia Nanoinks LLC, formed by four UNM students using Sandia National Laboratories technology to create copper-conducting inks for the printed electronics industry. The technology integrates copper nanoparticles with different solvents to make cheaper inks than the typical silver conductive ones used today, said Brian Billstrand, a chemical engineering student who worked on the technology as an intern at Sandia.

"I got excited about it and built a team to take it to market," Billstrand said. "We’ll use the prize money for legal and accounting expenses and for additional research and development."

Also on the winning team were chemical engineering student Julian Vigil; Benjamin Stewart, a mechanical engineering student, and John Garrity, a UNM alumnus. The University of New Mexico awarded $77,500 to six student startups in this year’s business plan competition.

The event, organized by UNM’s Anderson School of Management, featured 15 competing teams, including 10 from UNM and five from New Mexico State University.