Two future West Virginia University studentsAmanda Thompson and Elizabeta Yadlovskiy from Keyserhad a busy week.
On Wednesday, May 10, they won the red ribbon in the Dreamquest West Virginia Business Plan Competition. The next day, they accepted a $1,500 scholarship to attend the University as a direct result of their entrepreneurial spirit.
The Don Mar scholarship was made possible through a gift to the WVU Foundation from Fairmont entrepreneur Don Holyman, who established the scholarship to attract the best and brightest students interested in entrepreneurship to WVU .
Amanda and Elizabeta clearly fit that description. Their business plan, �€?Memory by Projection,�€? creates custom slide shows for weddings, retirements, funerals, graduations and other events.
�€?I was very impressed by the quality of work in finalists’presentations and feel that they are well on their way to success,�€? said Mindy Walls, director of the WVU Entrepreneurship Center and competition judge. �€?They were chosen because their plan and presentation made it clear that they had found a niche in their market and had the initiative to capitalize on it. They already have customers.�€?
Along with Walls, the state’s First Lady Gayle Manchin and Holyman’s son-in law, Guy Peduto, presented the scholarship.
Amanda is the daughter of Jerry Thompson and Sheryl Sharpless.
Elizabeta is the daughter of Mikhail and Maria Yadlovskiy.
Dreamquest is a program designed to give West Virginia’s youth the opportunity to create a real life entrepreneurial experience within the educational setting. �€?Dreamquest gives high school students a terrific experience in planning a business,�€? Walls said. �€?From the written submission which details their ideas and business assumptions to the oral presentation which shows their passion and salesmanship, the students really get a feel for what it takes to get a business up and running.�€?
The program is sponsored through the collaboration of the West Virginia Small Business Development Division, West Virginia Department of Education, and the West Virginia Tech Prep InitiativeHigher Education Policy Commission.
�€?Don is passionate about West Virginia’s young people and providing opportunities to expand their horizons and help them see the role they must ultimately play in the economic development of the state,�€? said David Long, director of development and alumni affairs for the College of Business and Economics. �€?His generous gift and the sentiments underlying it represent an important step in the fulfillment of a vision we all share.�€?