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Open to all majors
The West Virginia Collegiate Business Plan Competition affords college students around the state the unique opportunity to make a business idea come to life with the support of state institutions of higher education and seasoned business professionals from around the country.
The goal of the competition is to provide students with the education, skills, contacts, and motivation necessary to create a viable start-up company in West Virginia. Two grand prize packages consisting of $10,000 cash, accounting, and legal assistance are awarded to the top team in each category, and $20,000 of additional at-large money is also awarded to various finalist teams. The competition is free to enter.
Entries are divided into two categories:
- Lifestyle and Hospitality: Products or services that are part of daily life or relevant to hospitality, restaurants, hotels, tourism or related fields. They can be the introduction of new products or services, or new methods or techniques of existing products or services.
- STEM and Innovation: Products or services with an emphasis in science, technology, engineering, math, energy, and healthcare, or any new innovations. They can be the introduction of new products or services, or new methods or techniques of existing products or services.
The same entry may not be submitted in multiple categories. However, teams may enter multiple different business plans in the first round, but only one business plan in the semifinals.
The process extends through the entire academic year, culminating in April. The competition consists of three rounds. Feedback and instruction are given for each round, so it is not necessary to have any business background to enter. It is helpful to have team members with different areas of expertise.
Teams of 1-3 members will choose a for-profit business idea that focuses on social entrepreneurship and solving a problem found in West Virginia. Teams will submit a conceptual outline of their proposed business via ReviewR using the Business Model Canvas template.
The top ten teams in each category will advance to the Semifinals. Additional teams will advance to ensure every participating school has at least one representative in the Semifinals.
Round 2 — Semifinals:
Consists of three levels. First each team will submit a written feasibility study. Next, each team must travel to the Round 2 Conference held at Fairmont State University, where they will present a two-minute elevator pitch of their business idea to the judges who will score the ideas. Finally, each team will participate in a series of interviews with business professionals to discuss their business plan.
The top five teams in each category will advance to the final round, with one alternate chosen in each category.
Teams will come together at the BPC Workshop to work with marketing, financial, legal and business professionals. They will learn valuable information related to starting a business in West Virginia. This event is mandatory for all finalists and their coaches.
Round 3 — Final 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 will submit a business plan to a panel of judges and then makes a 8-minute oral presentation to the panel followed by a 4-minute Q&A with the judges.
The winner in each category will receive the grand prize package of $10,000 cash and consulting services to start their business. In addition, $20,000 of at-large prize money will be awarded to deserving teams.
November 15, 2019 Round 1 submissions due by noon
December 2, 2019 Semifinalists notified
January 24, 2020 Feasibility Studies due by noon
January 31, 2020 Semifinals - Fairmont State University
February 22, 2020 Workshop - West Virginia University
March 26, 2020 Final Business Plans due by noon
April 2, 2020 Final Competition - Charleston Convention Center