The Fourth Annual Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition will take the next step toward finding the newest state collegiate entrepreneurs February 19-20, as 10 finalists from four different West Virginia educational institutions compete for two $10,000 prizes.
As part of the competition, the West Virginia University (WVU) Entrepreneurship Center will host a weekend workshop for the 10 finalist teams looking to transform their visions into reality when the two winning teams are announced in April. The finalists represent four statewide institutions of higher education, including Glenville State College, Marshall University, University of Charleston and West Virginia University.
The workshop affords participants the opportunity to interact with successful business professionals as well as seek their advice and guidance on their business ideas, as they work toward advancing 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 evening, February 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, February 20, 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.
The Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition spans the entire academic year and typically begins early in the fall semester. The competition traditionally draws full-time students from institutions of higher education statewide.
This year, 98 applicants from seven colleges and universities throughout the state 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. As a result of second round judging, 10 finalists were selected to advance to the final round of competition, which results in the awarding of two $10,000 prizes. The two winning teams also receive professional business services, which they use to go on to build small businesses within the state.
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.