From a record-breaking field of 117 entries, the pack has been reduced to 20 semi-finalists in the West Virginia Statewide Business Plan Competition. That field includes 13 teams from West Virginia University that will advance in the quest for two $10,000 prizes.
A panel of judges from throughout West Virginia and across the nation reviewed 44 Hospitality & Tourism entries and 73 Lifestyle & Innovation entries. Of those, seven WVU teams were semi-finalists in Hospitality & Tourism and six WVU teams advanced to the next round in the Lifestyle & Innovation category of competition.
“We continue to be amazed at the wide array of ideas in this competition,” said Mindy Walls, Director of the WVU Entrepreneurship Center and chairperson of the Business Plan Competition Oversight Committee. “The ideas we are seeing are a wonderful mix of forward thinking, practicality and innovation.”
Along with WVU’s representation, the semi-finalists included four teams from Shepherd University and one each from Bluefield State College, Glenville State College and West Liberty University. This year marks the first time teams from Bluefield and West Liberty have advanced to the semi-finals.
Business ideas from WVU students range from a mobile Italian food service to a new technology in artificial insemination rods for cattle production, and from a technology-based West Virginia travel guidebook to a small business management firm that supports other entrepreneurs.
“We are very pleased not only by the number of entries in this year’s Business Plan Competition, but also by the solid business ideas that have been proposed by WVU students,” said Dr. Jose V. Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean, WVU College of Business and Economics. “By hosting this event, we ensure that the flow of entrepreneurial ideas is strong, not only at WVU but across the state. I believe this ties into our responsibilities as a land grant institution.”
WVU led all nine West Virginia participating colleges and universities with 81 entries. Shepherd had 18; Bluefield five; Glenville four; West Liberty two; Fairmont State University two; and the University of Charleston, Concord University and Marshall University had one each.
Teams that make it through this round and advance to the finals will be awarded $1,000 each.
The next step is the Round 2 Luncheon, which will be held at the University of Charleston on Nov. 15. Each team will present a two-minute elevator pitch of their business idea to the conference attendees, who will score the ideas. Finally, each team will participate in a series of interviews with business professionals to discuss their business plan. The top five teams in each category will advance to the final round.
To date, 546 teams have participated in the Statewide Business Plan Competition in six years.
Go to www.be.wvu.edu/bpc for further information on the West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition.
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CONTACT: Mindy Walls