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Need help curating ideas?

Create Your Business Idea

Every business starts as an idea. Whether it's a completely new idea or an improvement to an existing product or service, every entrepreneur gets their start by identifying a problem and coming up with a way to solve it. Below are some resources to spark your imagination, give you ideas, and help you formulate your business idea. 


Want to enter the Business Plan Competition but don't have an idea? Try these tips to get started:

  • Create a "bug list"  - Everybody has something that bugs them. This might be a minor daily inconvenience like losing your keys or a major cultural problem like world hunger. Create a list of the things that bother you, then start thinking of creative products or services that could help to solve them.

  • Explore WV Forward - The WV Business Plan Competition's goal is to inspire students to solve West Virginia's greatest issues through entrepreneurship and innovation. Why not start by exploring what those issues are? Click HERE to read about some of the issues WV Forward has identified within the state, and brainstorm how those might be solved.

  • Call a Professor - The Business Plan Competition has partners in nearly every higher education institution in West Virginia. Click here: to check what professors in your area have partnered with us; they can help you formulate a business idea.

  • Visit the LaunchLab - If you're a WVU student, click HERE to learn more about  how the LaunchLab can help you turn your business idea into a reality!


These industries tend to be very popular among investors in today's business environment.


1. Artificial Intelligence: Improve algorithms, address data quality, optimize human-machine coordination, and disrupt adversaries' efforts.

2. Autonomy: Address autonomous systems teaming; machine perception, reasoning and intelligence; human and autonomy systems trust and interaction.

3. Communications: Addressing high-performance, low power embedded processing and developing algorithms for self-configuring, self-healing, and resource allocation.

4. Cyber: Address behavioral issues, develop self-securing networks, and develop cyber effects and consequences capability assessments.

5. Directed Energy: Address power scaling, jitter reduction, laser size and weight, adaptive optics, beam propagation, and target tracking.

6. Hypersonics: Address high temperature materials, hypersonic vehicle manufacturing, air breathing propulsion, and hypersonic guidance and controlsystems.

7. Microelectronics: Develop economically competitive domestic manufacturing capabilities, improve radiation hardening, and develop radio frequency (RF) technologies for specialty applications with nuclear, space and electronic warfare capabilities. 

8. Quantum Sciences: Address quantum clocks and sensors and quantum communications technologies. Develop enabling technologies for quantum computing in the areas of cryogenics and photon detection.

9. Space: Developing low earth orbit nano-satellites for missile warning, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, navigation, and communications.

10. Biotechnology: Applications related to disease prevention and mitigation, rapid emergency medical response and trauma management, environmental remediation, and advanced materials.