Field narrows to 10 finalists in WV Business Plan Competition - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Field narrows to 10 finalists in WV Business Plan Competition

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A few months ago, the field for the West Virginia Statewide Business Plan Competition was crowded with a record 141 entries. After two challenging rounds of scrutiny, that field has been narrowed to 10 teams, two of which will capture a $10,000 first prize in their respective category of competition.

Of the 10 finalist teams, seven hail from West Virginia University, two are from Glenville State College and one is from Concord University. There are five finalist teams in the Lifestyle & Innovation category and five teams in the Hospitality & Tourism category.

The statewide competition, open to all four-year higher education institutions, will see one winner in each category be awarded a $10,000 first prize and a professional services package worth more than $6,000. Competition rules mandate that the business must operate and be headquartered in West Virginia.

"The finalist teams have advanced through two rigorous rounds of competition," said Steven Cutright, director of the West Virginia University Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The center is housed in the WVU College of Business and Economics, which hosts the annual statewide competition. "These teams will now work with coaches who are professionals in the business world to further develop and refine their business plans over the course of the next few months."

The teams will participate in a mandatory workshop weekend Feb. 1-2 at WVU as they meet with their coaching advisors and attend seminars on subjects such as intellectual property, marketing, financing, writing a business plan, creating a management team and legal issues. Final business plans are due on March 18, with winners announced on April 6.

The teams, along with their idea summaries are:

Lifestyle & Innovation

Crown Pointe, WVU — a traveling consignment shop dedicated to providing high quality, pre-owned clothing for equine athletes, focusing on traveling to horse shows;

EZ Reader, Glenville State — a quicker and simpler method of reading election ballots, helping to ensure votes are counted easily and correctly;

Precision Tools, WVU — design, patent, manufacture and market precision cutting tools for use in drywall and ceiling tile installation;

Stirrup Bands, WVU — an innovation for the horse market, providing an easier way to improve riding skills; uses rubber banding to help riders keep their feet in the stirrups while correcting improper foot placement; and

Techquine Inc., WVU — focuses on integrating innovative technology into the equine industry with products such as "Adjust-a-Jump," a mechanized equine jump system.

Hospitality & Tourism

Delivery2U, Glenville State — a personal delivery/courier service that will serve the community of Glenville by fulfilling orders from their favorite restaurants;

Dub V Safe Ride, WVU — a designated driver service to be conducted by transporting individuals in their own vehicles to their specified destination;

Mountain State Hydroponics LLC, WVU — located in North Central West Virginia, specializing in year-round production of high quality vegetables, herbs and fruits;

PLANET, Concord — a community-oriented restaurant serving healthy food and drink to be located in the East End neighborhood of Charleston; and

Two Guys and a Pig, WVU — a mobile barbeque service catering to West Virginia's fairs and festivals and to sporting events in the Morgantown area.

Cutright said he is pleased with this group of finalists, who emerged from a record number of entries and a record number of participating West Virginia colleges and universities.

"We have a fantastic group of coaches and judges this year, and these finalist teams seem very eager to learn everything they can," Cutright said. "The great thing about this competition is the learning process each team experiences, and the people who made the time and effort to learn are the winners."

A total of 677 teams from 14 West Virginia colleges and universities have participated in the seven years of statewide competition.