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Community Business Plan Competition

Rules and Regulations


Welcome to the 2 nd Annual West Virginia Statewide Community Business Plan Competition! The Community BPC provides community members 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 technical assistance funding each year to eager entrepreneurs in West Virginia.

Eligibility: This Contest is open to:

  • individuals whose current legal residence is the state of West Virginia and who are at least the age of eighteen (18) (“Individuals”);
  • teams of eligible Individuals;
  • organizations (including corporations, not-for-profit corporations and other nonprofit organizations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and other legal entities) that exist and have been organized or incorporated at the time of entry in the state of West Virginia, and employ no more than 50 people (“Organizations”); and
  • a non-West Virginia resident that is a student currently enrolled at a West Virginia institution of higher education who agrees to form an Organization in West Virginia within six (6) months should they receive a contest award (“Student Organization”).

The following are NOT ELIGIBLE: judging and WV state agencies involved in the administration, development, fulfillment and execution of this Contest (collectively, Contest Parties and the immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, and spouse of each); individuals who are residents of, or Organizations domiciled in, a country, state, province or territory other than West Virginia.

Competition Overview

  • Round 1: 90-seconds (maximum) YouTube online video entry
  • Round 2: Business Model Canvas (semifinals)
  • Round 3: Business Plan (finals)


Round One

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.

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.

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.

Entries must describe a legitimate invention, product, technology, or service that may be lawfully operated in the United States (“Contest Concept”).

Entries may be in a concept stage of development however preference will be given to those entries that are in more advanced prototype stage of development and which have a near-term prospect of being introduced into the marketplace. If the Contest Concept has been introduced to the marketplace, the Contest Concept must have been in the market (sales transactions) for less than 1 year. Any Contest Concepts that have not been in the market are eligible, regardless of how long they have been in development.

Entries must be the original work of the entrant, must not infringe any third-party rights, must be suitable for publication (i.e., may not be obscene or indecent), must not contain obscene or pornographic material, may not contain defamatory statements, may not invade privacy or other rights of any person, firm or entity, may not in any other way violate applicable laws and regulations, may not contain any reference to any third party trademarks, names or third party logos (other than as owned by the entrant) and may not contain any copyrighted works (other than as owned by the entrant). All Entries will be reviewed for content.

Entries containing prohibited or inappropriate content as determined by the Contest administrators or the sponsors of this Contest (collectively the “Sponsors”), in their sole discretion, will be disqualified and removed from consideration and will not be eligible to win a prize. By entering, you agree that the Sponsors will make the final determinations as to whether Entries are eligible to take part in this Contest. By submitting an Entry, you agree that your disclosure is gratuitous, unsolicited and without restriction, and will not place the Sponsors under any obligation, and that they will be free to disclose the ideas contained therein on a non-confidential basis to anyone without any additional compensation to you. You acknowledge that, by acceptance of your submission, Sponsors do not waive any rights to use similar or related ideas previously known to Sponsors, or developed by their employees or contractors, or obtained from sources other than you. By entering, you acknowledge that Sponsors have no obligation to use any Entry you submit.

3. Submit a 90-seconds (maximum) YouTube video

Teams must address all three of the following in the video:

  1. Business idea (product or service)
  2. What problem/opportunity do you see? Why is it a problem?
  3. 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 online:

*Round 1 entries Due: November 11, 2022, by noon

Team leaders register the team via VentureDash and complete the required submission data by November 11, 2022, at noon (EST).

5. Scoring

Each submission will be reviewed by a panel of judges comprised of various business professionals. Entries will be scored on a standard rubric, which can be found at

Ten (10) teams will be chosen to compete in the Semifinals.

All semifinalists must agree to compete at the Semifinals by November 22, 2022.

Semifinals: Coaches

Each team must have a coach for the semifinals. It is recommended that you work with a minimum of two coaches: one coach from the SBDC and one coach from the private industry with subject matter expertise around your product or service.

The WVU 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:

Semifinals Online Workshop:

There will be an informational online workshop to help teams prepare for the semifinal competition on December 1, 2022, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. (EST). Details will be emailed to the semifinalists.

Suggested reading prior to the workshop: Talking to Humans by Frank Rimalovski and Giff Constable, available for free at:


Round Two - Semifinals (online)

Due January 20, 2023 by noon

Round 2 Submission Guide

This guide provides you with a breakdown of each section that you will be scored on. Guiding questions have been provided to help you think about how to address each section thoughtfully. Please do not just answer each question, use them as a guide to address the section. Be creative! You may use illustrations, graphs, and infographics to help convey your answer.

Specific Requirements:

  • Must be filled out with full sentences
  • 5-page  maximum  PDF
  • Double-spaced, 12 pt. font
  • Pictures are permitted

*Page count does not include Cover Page, TOC, or appendices

Executive Summary

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.

Value Proposition

  1. Which customer needs are we satisfying?
  2. Which one of our customer's problems are we helping to solve?
  3. What value do we deliver to the customer?
  4. What bundles of products and services are we offering to each Customer Segment?

Customer Segments

  1. For whom are we creating value?
  2. Who are our most important customers?
    • Mass Market
    • Niche Market
    • Segmented
    • Diversified
    • Multi-sided Platform

Customer Relationships

  1. What type of relationship does each of our Customer Segments expect us to establish and maintain with them?
  2. Which ones have we established?
  3. How are they integrated with the rest of our business model?
  4. How costly are they?
  5. Examples:
    • Personal assistance
    • Dedicated Personal Assistance
    • Self-Service
    • Automated Services
    • Communities
    • Co-creation


  1. Through which Channels do our Customer Segments want to be reached?
  2. How are we reaching them now?
  3. How are our Channels integrated?
  4. Which ones work best?
  5. Which ones are most cost-efficient?
  6. How are we integrating them with customer routines?

Key Activities

  1. What Key Activities do our Value Propositions require?
  2. Our Distribution Channels?
  3. Customer Relationships?
  4. Revenue streams?
  5. Categories
    • Production
    • Problem Solving
    • Platform/Network

Key Partners

  1. Who are our Key Partners?
  2. Who are our Key Suppliers?
  3. Which Key Resources are we acquiring from partners?
  4. Which Key Activities do partners perform?
  5. Motivations for partnerships:
    • Optimization and economy
    • Reduction of risk and uncertainty
    • Acquisition of particular resources and activities

Key Resources

  1. What Key Resources do our Value Propositions require?
  2. Our Distribution Channels? Customer Relationships?
  3. Revenue Streams?
  4. Types of Resources
    • Physical
    • Intellectual (brand patents, copyrights, data)
    • Human
    • Financial

Cost Structure

  1. What are the most important costs inherent in our business model?
  2. Which Key Resources are most expensive?
  3. Which Key Activities are most expensive?
  4. 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)
  5. Characteristics:
    • Fixed Costs (salaries, rents, utilities)
    • Variable costs
    • Economies of scale
    • Economies of scope

Revenue Streams

  1. For what do they currently pay?
  2. For what value are our customers willing to pay?
  3. How are they currently paying?
  4. How would they prefer to pay?
  5. How much does each Revenue Stream contribute to overall revenues?

Summary of Interviews

  1. What feedback did you receive?
  2. What changes have you made/are you going to make as a result of the interview?

Other Things you May Include

  1. Pictures of prototypes
  2. Financials
  • Finalists and alternates will be announced on or before February 1, 2023
  • Five (5) teams will be chosen to compete in the final competition
  • Finalists are required to attend the online workshops on February 10, 2023, and February 24, 2023


Finalist Workshops (online)

February 10, 2023 and  February 24, 2023
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


  • Teams will virtually meet and work with business professionals including information related to starting a business in the state of West Virginia
  • This event is mandatory for all finalists
  • Coaches are encouraged to attend

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

Round Three – Finals

April 19, 2023
Wheeling, WV

Final Business Plans

Due: April 12, 2023, by noon (EST)

Submit online via VentureDash

  • 10-page maximum PDF
  • Double-spaced, 12 pt. font

*Page count does not include Cover Page, appendices, or Table of Contents.

Final Competition- April 19, 2023

  • Practice presentations will be offered April 18, evening or April 19, morning
  • 5-minute video presentation followed by 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.

Prize Money

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 Community 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.

All Contest Winners are subject to verification, including without limitation, verification of eligibility, compliance with these Official Rules and completion of release forms. In addition, Sponsors reserve the right to require a confidential background check be conducted on any Contest Winners selected to help ensure that the use of any such person in advertising or publicity for the Contest will not bring Sponsors into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule or reflect unfavorably on the Contest or Sponsors, as determined by Sponsors in their sole and absolute discretion, and that the awarding of any prize to any of the Contest Winners will not violate applicable U.S. or State laws or regulations.

If any Contest Winners have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor of moral turpitude or have filed a petition in bankruptcy within the previous ten (10) years, or Sponsors determine in their sole discretion that use of any Contest Winners in advertising might reflect unfavorably on the Contest or Sponsors or that the awarding of any prize may violate applicable U.S. or State laws or regulations, the Sponsors may disqualify such Contest Winners. If attempted notification is returned as undeliverable, if a Contest Winner is not verified as eligible or a Contest Winner is otherwise ineligible to receive a prize, the applicable prize will be forfeited and may be awarded to an alternate Contest Winner in the Sponsors’ sole discretion.

Entrants agree that the Sponsors reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to overrule whatever Entries are deemed to have received the highest judgments and award any prizes to Entries that are determined to be acceptable to the Sponsors. Entrants agree that the Sponsors have the sole right to decide all matters and disputes arising from this Contest and that all decisions of Sponsors are final and binding.

GENERAL CONDITIONS: Contest Winners are solely responsible for any taxes on the prizes, and will receive an IRS Form 1099 for prizes awarded. No substitution of prizes is offered, except at the sole discretion of the Sponsors. Prizes are non-transferable and non-refundable. No cash equivalent of in-kind prizes is offered by Sponsors. Sponsors will not be responsible for the services or advice provided as part of the in-kind prizes. By participating, entrants agree to these Official Rules and Sponsors’ Web Site terms and conditions which are final and binding in all respects.

If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of the Contest, Sponsors reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who is responsible or who tampers with the entry process, and to cancel, modify or terminate the Contest. This Contest is offered only in the State of West Virginia, United States, and is governed by the laws of the State of West Virginia, with jurisdiction being in a court of competent jurisdiction in the federal or state courts located in the State of West Virginia.

LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY AND RELEASE: No liability or responsibility is assumed by Sponsors resulting from any entrant’s or user’s participation in or attempt to participate in the Contest or download of any information in connection with participating in the Contest. No responsibility or liability is assumed by the Sponsors for technical problems or technical malfunction arising in connection with any of the following occurrences which may affect the operation of the Contest: hardware or software errors; faulty computer, telephone, cable, satellite, network, electronic, wireless or Internet connectivity or other online communication problems; errors or limitations of any Internet service providers, servers, hosts or providers; garbled, jumbled or faulty data transmissions; failure of any e-mail transmissions to be sent to or received; lost, late, delayed or intercepted e-mail transmissions; inaccessibility of the Web Site in whole or in part for any reason; traffic congestions on the Internet or the Web Site; unauthorized human or non-human intervention of the operation of the Contest, including without limitation, unauthorized tampering, hacking, theft, virus, bugs, worms; or destruction of any aspect of the Contest, or loss, miscount, misdirection, inaccessibility or unavailability of an account used in connection with the Contest. No responsibility or liability is assumed by the Sponsors with respect to any services or advice provided as part of the in-kind prize awards, and each recipient will be solely responsible for the selection and designation of services to be provided, and for the consequences of utilizing such services or advice.

Sponsors are not responsible for any typographical errors in the announcement of prizes or these Official Rules, or any inaccurate or incorrect data contained on the Web Site. Use of the Web Site is at the user’s own risk. Sponsors are not responsible for any personal injury or property damage or losses of any kind which may be sustained to any user's or any other person's computer equipment resulting from participation in the Contest, use of the Web Site or the download of any information from the Web Site. By participating in the Contest, the entrant thereby releases and agrees to hold harmless Sponsors from any and all claims, damages or liabilities arising from or relating to such entrant’s participation in the Contest or the use or application of any prizes awarded. By accepting a prize in the Contest, Contest Winners agree that the Sponsors and Contest Parties shall not be liable for any loss or injury resulting from participation in the Contest, acceptance or use of any prize, or any travel related thereto.

BUSINESS USE: If you are a Contest Winner, you represent and warrant that the prizes will be used by you solely in connection with implementation, support or funding of the Contest Concept which formed the basis of your winning Entry.

NON DISCRIMINATION: The Sponsors do not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any aspect of the Contest.

SPONSORS: The primary Sponsor of the Contest is West Virginia University, an agency and higher education institution of the State of West Virginia, PO Box 6201, Morgantown, West Virginia, 26506. Other Sponsors, if any, are indicated elsewhere on the official Web Site.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Participation in the Contest is subject to the terms and conditions set forth below.

Community BPC Important Dates:

November 11, 2022 Round 1: videos due by noon (online)

November 22, 2022 Finalists notified

December 1, 2022 Semifinalist Workshop (online)

January 20, 2023 Round 2: submission by noon (online)

January 31, 2023 Finalists Announced

February 10, 2023 Finalist Workshop (online)

February 24, 2023 Finalist Workshop (online)

April 12, 2023 Final Business Plans due by noon (online)

April 19, 2023 Round 3: Finals (live)