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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. Three grand prize packages consisting of $10,000 cash, accounting, and legal assistance are awarded to the top team in each category. The competition is free to enter.
Entries are divided into three categories:
- Lifestyle and Innovation: These can be products or services that are part of daily life or new innovations. They can be the introduction of new products or services, or new methods or techniques on existing products or services.
- Hospitality and Tourism: Products or services with relevance to hospitality, restaurants, hotels, tourism or related fields.
- STEM / Technology: Emphasis in engineering, technology, energy and healthcare.
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 finals.
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.
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 in various places across the state, where they will present a two minute elevator pitch of their business idea to the conference attendees 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.
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 submits a business plan to a panel of judges and then makes an oral presentation to the panel.