The West Virginia Collegiate Business Plan Competition, in its 10th year, has attracted the second-most entries ever for the statewide competition.
A total of 209 entries were submitted during the first round in early October from 12 institutions, including 10 four-year institutions and two two-year institutions. Last week the field was narrowed to 30 semi-finalists who will compete in three categories: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; Hospitality & Tourism; and Lifestyle & Innovation. The winner in each category will receive a $10,000 cash award and a prize package including free professional services to start their new business in West Virginia.
The competition, which runs throughout the collegiate academic year, is hosted by West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics through the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“This year’s competition promises to be more exciting than ever, with some of the best-quality first-round submissions the competition has seen in years,” said Julia Bolt, assistant director of the BrickStreet Center. “The experience for participating students, even those who don’t necessarily go home with a grand prize at the end, is invaluable, since this very competition is where many of the best and brightest entrepreneurs in the state got their start – winners or not.”
Bolt said this year’s new entry system provided a template tool for students to enter information about their business plan ideas.
“This template was like a one-page resume for students wanting to get into the competition,” said Bolt. “It was easier for teams and for judges, who faced the task of reducing the number of entries from 209 to 30 who would advance to the second round.”
Student teams chosen to move on to the semi-finalist round were notified on Oct. 23 and will compete at West Liberty University on Nov. 13. That round of competition will see students participate in a pitch competition, the highlight of the semi-finals event.
This year’s 209 submissions also include six schools that set individual records for entries into the competition: Alderson Broaddus University, Wheeling Jesuit University, Concord University, University of Charleston, West Virginia Wesleyan College and West Virginia University. Additionally, BridgeValley Community and Technical College is new to the competition this year.
The competition has 77 judges, comprising business-related individuals from across West Virginia and throughout the United States, who worked on judging the first-round submissions and narrowed the field down from 209 to 30.
Following the semifinals, the field will be narrowed even further to five finalists in each category. Final business plans are due from each finalist team in March, with winners announced at the West Virginia Collegiate Business Plan Competition banquet at WVU on April 8.
For more information on the West Virginia Collegiate Business Plan Competition, visit www.be.wvu.edu/bpc.
CONTACT: Julia Bolt; WVU BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.