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Collegiate Business Plan Competition

REQUIREMENTS TO ENTER:

OPEN TO ALL MAJORS AROUND THE STATE:
  • Degree-seeking students taking a minimum of 3-credit hours enrolled in a program at a higher education institution in WV may enter the competition. Dual 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 a 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 2021 are eligible to compete, but must attend all mandatory functions related to the competition during the spring of 2022 listed below.

If you already have a registered business read rules of eligibility here.


TIME COMMITMENTS:

The process extends through the entire academic year 2021, culminating in April 2022. There are 3 rounds and 3 online workshops, each time commitment is required and any changes that could occur will be emailed to you. Each deadline is also noon eastern time. 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.
    • November 5: Round 1 submissions due online by noon 
    • November 19: Semifinalists will be notified                    

    • December 1: First online workshop for semifinalists                  

    • January 21: Round 2 submissions are due online by noon                 

    • February 1: Finalists will be notified and announced 

    • February 11: Second online workshop for finalists        

    • February 18: Third online workshop for finalists

    • March 31: Final business plans are due online by noon

    • April 6: Round 3 Finals 

DOWNLOAD CALENDAR 

ROUND ONE: SUBMISSION STEPS

1. CREATE A TEAM

Teams may consist of 1-4 members. Assign a team leader, who will submit the team idea via VentureDash. Teams are allowed to add or remove team members throughout the competition.

All members must be 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.

Each team leader may submit only one entry per year. This person will serve as the main point of contact for the team. The team leader may be on additional teams, but can only serve as the team leader for one team per year.  Teams are allowed to add or remove team members up until the Workshop.


2. SELECT A 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.

Need help curating ideas? Visit this page.

Rules of Eligibility:

  • Businesses must be registered through the WV Secretary of State’s office and be 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.
  • Businesses that have generated revenues of $10,000 or more on the sale of goods and/or services produced by their business before the Round 1 submission date are not eligible.

  • Past non-winning participants are eligible for re-entry into the competition.

3. MAKE A SHORT YOUTUBE VIDEO 

The video can be a maximum of 90 seconds and teams must address all three of the following in the video:

  • The business idea (product or service)

  • What problem or opportunity do you see? Why is it a problem?

  • Who is your customer and how does it solve their problem?

Considerations: the problem should be specific, do not say you will market to everyone (everyone is not your customer), be specific!

If the subjects above are not addressed, the entry will not be scored.


4. REGISTER YOUR TEAM

Team leaders register the team via VentureDash by November 5, 2021, at noon eastern time.

The team leader will create one account for their team.  Once the team leader creates an account, they will be prompted to enter all the specific information about each team member including; name, email, phone, institution and student ID number. 

ENTER ROUND ONE 

Due: November 5th at noon via  VentureDash

  • Semifinalists will be notified via email by  November 19th and must agree to compete at the Semifinals.

  • 10 teams will be chosen to compete in the Semifinals.   Should the top 10 teams not include representatives from each participating school, additional semifinalists will be chosen so that every institution will be represented in the semifinals .

  • Semifinalists  are required to attend the online workshop on December 1, 2021

SCORING RUBRIC AND INSTRUCTIONAL HELP

Each submission will be reviewed by a panel of judges comprised of various business professionals and scored on a standard rubric, view here.

DOWNLOAD ROUND 1 RUBRIC      VENTUREDASH INSTRUCTIONS      

ROUND TWO: SEMIFINALS

COACHES:

Each team must have a coach for the semi-finals. It is recommended that you work with a minimum of two coaches: one coach from your institution and one coach from private industry with subject matter expertise around your product or service. Here is a list of potential coaches in your area. Also t he WVU Hayhurst LaunchLab has offered to coach all teams in the competition.

If you have any issues obtaining a coach, please contact the Encova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship for assistance: dallas.mullett@mail.wvu.edu 

SEMI-FINALS ONLINE WORKSHOP:

December 1st from 2:00–4:00 p.m. EST

There will be an informational online workshop to help teams prepare for the semifinals competition. An agenda will be emailed to the semifinalists. We will cover the business model canvas, competition overview and what to expect at the semifinals. 

Suggested reading prior to workshop: Talking to Humans by Frank Rimalovski and Giff Constable, available for free at: https://www.talkingtohumans.com/

ROUND TWO SUBMISSION STEPS:

1. COMPLETE THE BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS TEMPLATE

In this round, you will complete the Business Model Canvas, a high-level overview of what your business will be.  This template provides you with a breakdown of each of the 9 sections that need filled out. Guiding questions have been provided to help you think about how to address each section thoughtfully. 

For visual learners a PDF of the Business Model Canvas is available . We encourage anyone to fill this out before submitting your a nswers to get a visual layout of your business idea. If you want to practice with this method before finalizing your thoughts in the final word document. Follow these steps:

  1. Download and print out the visual pdf below.

  2. Brainstorm your answers, listing them out in each block.

  3. Finalize and clean up your answers. 

  4. Then type up your answers in the submission template below.

  5. Save and submit on VentureDash

If you want to get straight to it this is your preferred method directly begin typing out your answers into the business model canvas template below:

  1. Download the word doc. 

  2. Brainstorm your answers, listing them out in each category.

  3. Finalize and Clean up your answers. 

  4. Save and submit on  VentureDash

Due: January 21st at noon via VentureDash

  • Finalists and alternates will be announced on or before  February 1, 2022

  • 5 teams will be chosen to compete in the final competition
  • Finalists are required to attend the online w orkshops on February 11  and February 18, 2022
  • Teams will meet and work with marketing, financial, legal, and business professionals on their business idea, to learn valuable information related to starting a business in West Virginia.

ROUND THREE: FINALS

FINALISTS ONLINE WORKSHOPS:

February 11th and 18th from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST

  • In workshop 2 teams will meet virtually and work with business professionals to learn how to write a business plan, work on financials and business law. 
  • In workshop 3 teams will meet virtually and go over marketing, business licensing registration in West Virginia and go over the pitch for finals. 
  • These events are  mandatory for all finalists

  • Coaches are encouraged to attend

Teams may attend the live-streamed workshops at the WVU LaunchLab as well. 

$1,000 STIPEND:
  • Each finalist team will receive one $1,000 stipend to spend as they see fit.

  • $1,000 stipend is taxable and the responsibility of the team leader.

  • Each finalist team will receive this check after attending the workshops and competing in the finals via US mail.

ROUND THREE SUBMISSION STEPS:

FINAL BUSINESS PLANS 

Due: March 31, 2022 at noon  via  VentureDash

  • 1 0-page maximum PDF

  • Double-spaced, 12 pt. font
  • Page count does not include Cover Page, appendices, or Table of Contents.


FINAL COMPETITION
April 6, 2022 in Charleston, West Virginia 
  • Practice presentations will be the morning of April 6

  • A 5-minute video presentation followed by Q&A

  • Only one 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.  

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FUNDS
  • Technical assistance funds will be given via check over disbursements agreed upon with the Encova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.  

*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 risks associated with any disclosure during the course of the competition.