MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner will be among several experts who will work with high school and collegiate student teams hoping to create viable businesses in the state.
Warner is part of a group of specialists meeting with 27 finalist teams in the West Virginia Collegiate Business Plan Competition and the West Virginia High School Business Plan Competition. The workshop will take place on Saturday, Feb. 3, at West Virginia University’s Erickson Alumni Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The competitions are hosted annually by the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which operates out of the WVU College of Business and Economics. Steven Cutright, director of the BrickStreet Center, said the training workshop will see attendance not only from student competition finalists, but also from mentors and campus champions of the competitions.
The collegiate competition has 17 finalist teams from five West Virginia universities and colleges, while the high school competition has 10 finalist teams from 10 West Virginia high schools.
The teams are not only vying for grand prizes, but are also looking to launch new businesses in West Virginia. The collegiate competition will see $10,000 winners in each of three categories, while the high school competition offers a grand prize of $10,000 in college scholarships.
“These competitions attract some of the most promising young entrepreneurs in West Virginia,” said Secretary Warner. “These students possess the interest, intellect and drive to be successful in the classroom and in business. We’re proud of these students, their teachers and their mentors for making it to the final stage of the competitions.”
Warner said his office is working to do its part to attract and retain entities wanting to conduct business in West Virginia. Currently, there are more than 104,000 businesses registered by the Secretary of State’s Office, with 10,244 new businesses registered in 2017 alone.
“My office is honored to participate in this workshop with the WVU College of Business and Economics and the BrickStreet Center. West Virginia is a great place to do business. These students are in the right place, in the right state, at the right time,” Warner said.
Among the group of speakers are Ed DeCosta, executive business coach; Frank DeGeorge, teaching assistant professor, WVU College of Business and Economics; Priya Baskaran, associate professor, WVU College of Law, and director, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Law Clinic; Dusty Gwinn, agent, attorney and entrepreneur; and Cutright. Cutright added that two faculty and 10 students from the WVU College of Law would be on hand at the workshop to help students understand and meet state business compliance and associated requirements.
“There is a huge learning component to participating in these business plan competitions, and this workshop is a prime example of that,” Cutright said. “Part of the charge of the Secretary of State is to make sure businesses are properly registered, and we are fortunate that Secretary Warner will spend time with these competition finalists. Secretary Warner also plans to make sure students know about the services that are available to them through these potential new startup businesses. This workshop brings together knowledge for students, continuing relationships with state agencies and a shared goal of business creation in West Virginia.”
The 2017-18 collegiate competition saw 292 entries from 16 universities and colleges. The high school competition had 76 entries from 16 schools this year.
The West Virginia Collegiate and High School Business Plan Competitions are part of the WVU Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Applied (IDEA) Ecosystem, a university-wide network of centers, offices and programs that fosters and supports innovation and entrepreneurship among WVU students, faculty and staff while engaging the statewide community.