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West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition sees growth in state connectivity in 2017-2018

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Keith Heisler, a WVU junior from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, majoring in aerospace engineering, presents his business, H2OLD IT, which provides innovative luxury products for living environments. He was the winner of the Lifestyle and Innovation category in the 2016-2017 West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition.

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The West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition continues to make a significant impact on the state’s entrepreneurial landscape with 292 entries from 16 of the 29 West Virginia colleges and universities in the 2017-2018 competition.

The statewide competition, which recently became part of the national ZinnStarter Program that helps college students launch new products and companies, is in its 12th year. Each year, it awards a $10,000 first prize to the winning team in each the competition’s three categories – Lifestyle and Innovation, Hospitality and Tourism and STEM/Technology.

Hosted by the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which is housed in the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, the competition’s semi-finals will take place Friday (Nov. 10) at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon.

“The scope of the annual business plan competition is continuously growing with new partnerships, categories and ideas. And we are also seeing significant expansion in terms of collaboration and connectivity across the state,” said Julia Bolt, coordinator of the competition and assistant director of the BrickStreet Center. “More and more student teams from a variety of institutions across West Virginia are refining their entrepreneurial dreams and ideas, then turning them into viable businesses through the business plan competition.”

All indications from the state’s collegiate community are that they have some business ideas they want to share, and the competition that runs throughout the academic year is under way. This year’s 30 semi-finalist teams come from seven different institutions, including Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, Concord University, Glenville State College, Marshall University, Shepherd University, University of Charleston and West Virginia University.

While the first-round of the 2017-2018 competition did not garner a record number of entries, there were indeed new participation milestones. This year marks the first year of participation for BRCTC, and there was an overall spike in participation among college freshmen from institutions across the state.

Participating schools in the 2017-2018 West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition include Alderson Broaddus University, Bethany College, Bluefield State College, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Glenville State College, Marshall University, Shepherd University, West Liberty University, West Virginia State College, West Virginia Wesleyan College, WVU, WVU Institute of Technology, WVU Potomac State College and University of Charleston.

The BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is part of the WVU IDEA Ecosystem, a university-wide network of centers, offices and programs that fosters and supports innovation and entrepreneurship in WVU students, faculty and staff while engaging the statewide community. Resources and detailed information can be found in a visual map of the full ecosystem.

-WVU-

bd/11/08/17

CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU College of Business and Economics
patrick.gregg@mail.wvu.edu; 304.293.5131 

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.