West Virginia University placed six teams in the top ten at the fourth annual Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition.

The competition features student teams from colleges and universities throughout West Virginia. Finalists will take the next step toward becoming the newest state collegiate entrepreneurs with a workshop Feb. 19-20 at WVU.

WVU’s finalists are:
• Jillian Cobb and Chad Lowe, both of Shepherdstown
• Logan Hartle, Moundsville
• Kevin Beckett, Clendenin; Lauren Nicholson, Wheeling; Ryan Mitchell, Morgantown
• Keith Salnick, Eatontown, N.J.; Brenna Miller, Warren, Ohio
• Tyler Martin, Fairmont
• Robert Coffelt, Oak Hill; and William Tuckwiller, Lewisburg

Other finalists are from Glenville State College, Marshall University and the University of Charleston.

The Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition spans the entire academic year and typically begins early in the fall semester. This year, 98 applicants from seven state institutions submitted proposals to be considered for the competition. The field was narrowed to 20 competitors, who were then invited to participate in the second round of competition in November, 2009. After second-round judging, 10 finalists were selected to advance to the final round of competition. The winners will be announced in April. Winners in the Lifestyle and Technology categories each win a $10,000 prize. Each winning team also receives professional business services, which they use to build small businesses within the state.

Over the weekend, the WVU Entrepreneurship Center will host a workshop for the would-be companies looking to transform their visions into reality. The workshop gives participants the opportunity to interact with successful business professionals as the teams hone their business plans.

“The weekend workshop is the main educational component of the Business Plan Competition,” said Mindy Walls, WVU Entrepreneurship Center Director. “It gives participants the chance to receive individual help from state entrepreneurs and work through issues they are facing in planning their businesses.”

Coaches, participants and speakers from all over the state will be welcomed on Friday, Feb. 19, with an evening dinner at the Waterfront Place Hotel, followed by tips from past participants and advice from state business leaders. Law students from the WVU Entrepreneurial Law Clinic will also be on hand to provide legal consultation to all finalist teams.

The workshop weekend continues on Saturday morning at the WVU College of Business and Economics, as teams will work all day with coaches to develop their business strategies in preparation for the final round of competition that will be held April 9-10.

Finalists are encouraged to enroll in an online entrepreneurship course through the WVU College of Business and Economics designed to support their efforts in an academic setting.

“The use of distance learning gives participants in this competition the opportunity to get advice on all aspects of their businesses,” Walls said. “Plus, they get to interact live as part of the process, which is quite valuable to the teams.”

The WVU Business Plan Competition expanded to all four-year institutions statewide in 2006, with the goal of promoting entrepreneurship in higher education by providing leadership, skills training and peer support to students interested in building small businesses in West Virginia.
For more information on the Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition, visit the Entrepreneurship Center website at: http://www.be.wvu.edu/bpc or contact Walls at mfwalls@mail.wvu.edu or via phone at (304) 293-7861.



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CONTACT: Mindy Walls at (304) 293-4047 or mfwalls@mail.wvu.edu