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Rules and Regulations 2019-2020
Welcome to the 15th annual West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition! The BPC provides college students throughout the state of West Virginia with the unique opportunity to make a business idea come to life with the support of state institutions of higher education and investors from around the country. The competition awards a minimum of $20,000 each year to eager entrepreneurs willing to invest in West Virginia.
Goal: To work collaboratively with a mission to move the state forward by engaging young minds to solve West Virginia’s greatest issues. The future of our state is at hand, and we are working to involve young talent from across the state to share their ideas. We will provide students with the education, skills, contacts, and motivation necessary to create a viable start-up company in West Virginia. Finalist teams will pitch to investors in the final round.
In addition to potential investments, a board of students will award $20,000 of at-large prize money donated by ZinnStarter. Ray Zinn created ZinnStarter in 2016 to support early-stage entrepreneurs to foster startups.
Eligibility: Degree seeking student taking minimum 3-credit hours enrolled in a program at a higher education institution in WV may enter the competition. Duel enrolled students may only compete in one of the business plan competitions. The Oversight Committee reserves the right to review the qualifications for each applicant and make determination on eligibility.
Open to all majors. Students participating in university-approved, co-op programs are considered full-time students for the purpose of this competition.
Students that graduate in December 2020 are eligible to compete, but MUST attend all mandatory functions related to the competition during the spring of 2021.
1. Create a Team
Teams may consist of 1-3 members. Assign a team leader. Team leaders will submit the team business idea using the business model canvas template.
All members must be full-time college students at West Virginia institutions of higher education, but do not need to attend the same institution.
Building a team with diverse skill sets is recommended. Teams may enter multiple business ideas in the first round, but only one (1) such business idea may compete in the semifinals. If two submissions from the same team leader are selected for the semifinals, teams can break up or add additional team members as needed. Teams can add or remove team members up until the Workshop.
2. Select Business Idea
For-profit and non-profit ideas are eligible. Social entrepreneurship is encouraged. All business ideas must have the potential to be viable, legal entities eligible to operate under the laws of West Virginia.
Rules of Eligibility:
Businesses who have generated revenues of $10,000 or more on the sale of goods and/or services produced by their business prior to the Round 1 submission date are not eligible.
Past winning participants are not eligible for re-entry of the same business idea.
Past non-winning participants are eligible for re-entry into the competition.
Businesses must be registered and compliant with the laws in the state of West Virginia. There are no restrictions on the geographic location(s) where the business operations shall occur.
3. Fill out the Business Model Canvas Template
Determine the category that best suits your idea: Lifestyle & Hospitality, or STEM & Innovation.
i. Fill out template provided online
ii. 500-character count maximum for each section
iii. Must be filled out with full sentences
iv. Must NOT include the name of the team’s higher education institution(s)
**ENTER AT www.businessplanwv.com**
Templates can be filled out based on the following information:
*500-character count maximum for each section
Briefly describe your company and why it will be successful. May include your mission statement, product or service and basic information about the company’s leadership team and location.
- What value do we deliver to the customer?
- Which one of our customer's problems are we helping to solve?
- What bundles of products and services are we offering to each Customer Segment?
- Which customer needs are we satisfying?
- For whom are we creating value?
- Who are our most important customers?
- Mass Market
- Niche Market
- Multi-sided Platform
- What type of relationship does each of our Customer Segments expect us to establish and maintain with them?
- Which ones have we established?
- How are they integrated with the rest of our business model?
- How costly are they?
- Personal assistance
- Dedicated Personal Assistance
- Automated Services
- Through which Channels do our Customer segments want to be reached?
- How are we reaching them now?
- How are our Channels integrated?
- Which ones work best?
- Which ones are most cost-efficient?
- How are we integrating them with customer routines?
- What key Activities do our Value Propositions require?
- Our Distribution Channels?
- Customer Relationships?
- Revenue streams?
- Problem Solving
- Who are our Key Partners?
- Who are our Key suppliers?
- Which Key Resources are we acquiring from partners?
- Which Key Activities do partners perform?
- Motivations for partnerships:
- Optimization and economy
- Reduction of risk and uncertainty
- Acquisition of particular resources and activities
- What Key Resources do our Value Propositions require?
- Our Distribution Channels? Customer Relationships?
- Revenue Streams?
- Types of Resources
- Intellectual (brand patents, copyrights, data)
- What are the most important costs inherent in our business model?
- Which Key Resources are most expensive?
- Which Key Activities are most expensive?
- Is your Business more:
- Cost Driven (leanest cost structure, low price value proposition, maximum automation, extensive outsourcing)
- Value Driven (focused on value creation, premium value proposition)
- Fixed Costs (salaries, rents, utilities)
- Variable costs
- Economies of scale
- Economies of scope
- For what value are our customers really willing to pay?
- For what do they currently pay?
- How are they currently paying?
- How would they prefer to pay?
- How much does each Revenue Stream contribute to overall revenues?
4. Register online Due: November 13, 2020 by noon
Team leaders register team and complete the required submission data.
Each submission will be reviewed by a panel of judges comprised of various business professionals. Summaries will be scored on a standard rubric. Scoring rubric can be found at BusinessPlanWV.com.
Fifteen (15) teams will be chosen to compete in the Semifinals. Should the top 15 teams in not include representatives from each participating school, additional semifinalists will be chosen so that every institution will be represented in the semifinals. Semifinalists must agree to compete at the Semifinals by December 4. Semifinalists will be announced to the public on December 7, 2020.
Each team must have a coach for the Semifinals. It is recommended you work with one coach from your institution and one from private industry with subject matter expertise around your product or service.
If you have any issues obtaining a coach, please contact the Encova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship for assistance. Tara.StClair@mail.wvu.edu
There will be a free webinar to help teams prepare for the Semifinal competition on December 9, 2020 from 2:00-4:00. Details will be emailed to the semifinalists. Suggested reading: Talking to Humans by Frank Rimalovski and Giff Constable. Available for free at: https://www.talkingtohumans.com/
Round Two- Semifinals (Online)
1. Customer Discovery Summary
*Due: February 1, 2021 by noon
Submit on-line via ReviewR
Interview 10 potential customers (minimum)
5-page maximum PDF
Pictures are permitted
12 pt. font
*Page count does not include Cover Page, TOC, or appendices
Cover page with business name, team members and date
Describe your business (product or service)
Define your ideal customer (avatar)
Define at least three customer segments your business can serve when successful (long-term)
Describe the value you will provide to these customers - the benefits not the features of your innovation
Summary of interviews
- What feedback did you receive?
- What pivots have made/are you going to make as a result of the interviews?
2. Elevator Pitch (video)
*Due: February 1, 2021 by noon
Submit on-line via ReviewR
Only one (1) team member is required to speak
3. One-on-One Zoom Interviews with Judges
Setup during week of February 8, due February 12
Visual aids and prototypes are encouraged to show to judges online
Customer Discovery 33.33%
*Finalists and alternates will be announced week of February 15
Ten (10) teams will be chosen to compete in the Finals. Finalists are required to attend the Workshop February 26.
Finalist Workshop (online)
February 26, 2021
10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Teams will virtually meet and work with marketing, financial, legal and business professionals
Teams will learn valuable information related to starting a business in the state of West Virginia
This event is mandatory for all finalist
- Coaches are encouraged to attend
2. $1,000 Stipend
Each finalist team will receive one (1) $1,000 stipend to spend as they see fit.
$1,000 stipend is taxable and the responsibility of the team leader.
Should a team fail to compete in the final competition, the stipend must be paid back in full.
Each finalist team will receive this check after attending the workshop and competing in the finals via mail.
- Teams that do not attend the workshop and finals are not eligible for the stipend.
Round Three- Finals
April 16, 2021
1. Final Business Plans Due: April 9, 2021 by noon
Submit online via ReviewR
10-page maximum PDF
12 pt. font
*Page count does not include Cover Page, appendices or Table of Contents.
2. Final Competition (online, April 16)
Practice presentations on April 12
5-minute presentation followed by 5 minute Q&A
Only one (1) team member is required to speak during this presentation.
Presentations are open to the public, business plans are not.
*Mentors and/or family are permitted in the presentation room during their respected team’s presentation, but non-team members may not speak during the presentations or Q&A. Should a non-team member speak any time the judges are present, the team will be disqualified.
At-large money will be given via check over disbursements agreed upon with the Encova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
ZinnStarter winners receive the money based on amount granted by student board in one disbursement.
*All prize proceeds may be revoked if the recipients are found to have violated any of the competition’s rules and regulations. West Virginia University is not responsible for the content or quality of any in-kind services that may be provided as awards for this competition.
*The Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition is committed to undertaking a practical and reasonable effort to protect any confidential and proprietary information provided by participants. Finalists will receive guidance on intellectual property and an overview of best practices will be included in the workshop materials. Judges in all rounds are asked to acknowledge and agree to be bound by confidentiality terms. Final round judges and semifinal judges will sign hard copy confidentiality agreements at the event. All participants do acknowledge the public nature of a business plan competition and assume all risk associated with any disclosure during the course of the competition.