In their quests to create businesses in West Virginia and capture one of three $10,000 grand prizes, 32 teams of collegiate entrepreneurs have advanced to the semifinal round of the West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition. West Virginia University has claimed more than half of those positions.
Each of the three competitive categories – STEM, Lifestyle & Innovation and Hospitality & Tourism – has semi-finalists that have advanced to the second round of competition. In the STEM category, WVU has six semifinalists, Marshall University has three and Shepherd University has one. In the Lifestyle & Innovation category, WVU has 11 semifinalists and Bluefield State College has one. And in the Hospitality & Tourism category, WVU has five semifinalists, Shepherd has two, and Marshall, Concord University and Glenville State College each has one.
The full list of all 32 semifinalist teams, their schools and company names can be found at be.wvu.edu/bpc/.
“We have a real wave of momentum going into the second round due to the record 235 entries in this year’s competition,” said Steven Cutright, Director of the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics. WVU’s business school is the host for the annual competition that runs throughout the collegiate academic year.
“The new STEM category created greater opportunity for a wider spectrum of students to submit entries, and the entries in all three categories are strong in this year’s competition. The entries really show ingenuity and entrepreneurial focus,” Cutright said.
The new STEM category stands for the fields of study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In the business plan competition, the emphasis was on entries in the areas of engineering, technology, energy and health care. Lifestyle & Innovation will focus on products or services that are part of daily life or new innovations, and Hospitality & Tourism will focus on products or services relevant to hospitality, restaurants, hotels, tourism or related fields.
The Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition is open to all majors at West Virginia’s 19 four-year higher education institutions. Teams may be comprised of from one to four members that are full-time students, and winners must start up their businesses in West Virginia. Grand prizes in each category include $10,000 in cash and a prize package that includes accounting and legal services worth an estimated $4,000.
The second round of competition will be held on Nov. 22 at Marshall University and consists of three levels. Each team must submit a written feasibility study, present a two-minute “elevator pitch” of their business idea and 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. The prizes will be awarded after the final round of competition on April 4 in Morgantown.
This year’s 235 entries far surpassed last year’s competition record 141 entries from a record 11 participating schools.
CONTACT: Tara St. Clair, WVU BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
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