The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in West Virginia, as this year’s Statewide Business Plan Competition shattered records for the number of entries and the number of participating colleges and universities.

The 2012-13 competition received 141 entries from 11 schools, both of which represent records. Last year’s 117 entries were the most ever received at that point, and the previous high in the number of participating schools in a single year was nine, also last year.

“Interest in the West Virginia Statewide Business Plan Competition continues to grow, and we couldn’t be happier with the participation this year,” 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.

Winners in each of two categories will be awarded $10,000 for their first place business plans to proceed with establishing and opening their businesses in West Virginia. Those two winners also receive a one-year professional services package that includes legal and accounting services, as well as space for one year in the West Virginia University Business Incubator. The package is valued at more than $6,000.

Cutright said there were 90 entries in the Lifestyle & Innovation category and 51 entries in the Hospitality & Tourism category. Along with WVU, entries were received from Bluefield State College, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Glenville State College, Marshall University, Shepherd University, the University of Charleston, West Liberty University, Wheeling Jesuit University and West Virginia Wesleyan College.

In the seven years the statewide competition has been held, 677 teams from 14 different West Virginia colleges and universities have participated.

“On behalf of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the state’s higher education system, I applaud the West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition,” said Dr. Paul L. Hill, Chancellor, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. “This competition, which is now in its seventh year, has provided nearly 700 student teams with an opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial spirit, while networking with both their peers and business leaders from across the state. Such activities are a critical component of the student experience by stimulating learning and generating innovative ideas, products and services.”

More than 100 state and regional business professionals volunteered their time as mentors, coaches and judges throughout the course of the competition last year.

“Our goal is to have participation by all 21 West Virginia colleges and universities,” Cutright said. “We have worked very hard on expanding the competition into schools that may not have had much or any participation in the competition before. Great ideas are born on college campuses every day, and it’s important that the entrepreneurial and innovative platform the Business Plan Competition provides is made available to every student in West Virginia who wants to participate.”

For information on the West Virginia Statewide Business Plan Competition, please visit .



Check daily for the latest news from the University. Follow @WVUToday and the WVU College of Business and Economics at @wvucobe on Twitter.

CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics or 304.293.5131