From 235 entries, the field has been narrowed to 15 finalists in the West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition. And of those 15 finalist spots, West Virginia University has 11 teams in the hunt for entrepreneurial money and prizes.

There are three categories of competition with five finalists in each category. Teams are vying for a grand prize of $10,000 in cash and a prize package that includes accounting and legal services worth an estimated $4,000 in each category.

Categories of competition include Lifestyle & Innovation, Hospitality & Tourism, and the new STEM category (science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with an emphasis in engineering, technology, energy and healthcare). Finalists include:

Lifestyles & Innovation category
– de Garmeaux Motors (WVU)
– Ears Up! (WVU)
– Morrow Farm Feeding (WVU)
– Precious Possessions Day Care (Bluefield)
– RenaSnacks (WVU)

Hospitality & Tourism category
– Gil’s Pit Beef (Glenville)
– Innovative Commercial Cooking (WVU)
– Mountainstate Hydroponics (WVU)
– Sweet Rolls (WVU)
– Zombie Survival Institute (Shepherd)

STEM category
– Coventina Well Services (WVU)
LAX Stringtech (WVU)
– Sandstorm Interactive Arts (Marshall)
– Weld Safe Technologies (WVU)

“These teams have come a long way in a relatively short amount of time,” said Steven Cutright, Director of the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the WVU College of Business and Economics. WVU’s business school hosts the annual competition that runs throughout the collegiate academic year.

The second round of competition was held on Nov. 22 at Marshall University and consisted of each team’s presentation of a written feasibility study and a two-minute “elevator pitch” of their business idea, as well as participation in a series of interviews with business professionals to discuss their business plans. A panel of judges from throughout West Virginia and other business professionals from this region of the U.S. evaluate each round of competition.

Finalist teams are given comprehensive instruction and support in developing a complete business plan for their idea. They are provided with a business coach to mentor their team and a stipend of $1,000 to cover costs associated with developing their business. Each finalist team submits a 20-page business plan to a panel of judges and then makes an oral presentation to the panel. The 15 teams will compete in the final round of competition on April 4 in Morgantown.

“As teams have advanced from round to round, they have been provided tools and feedback to help them mold their business ideas,” Cutright said. “Additionally, we provide a very comprehensive workshop for the finalists on February 8 to help them as they put together their business plans for final consideration in April.”

This year’s record 235 entries were submitted from 11 participating West Virginia universities and colleges. All 19 of the state’s four-year institutions are invited to participate.

For further information on the West Virginia Collegiate Business Plan Competition, please visit



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