Business plan contest launches statewide
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 07:09
West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics has come together with 21 other institutions throughout the state to host its 10th annual Collegiate Business Plan competition.
After beginning in 2002, the competition will be statewide for the seventh year.
Steven Cutright, Director for WVU’s College of Business and Economics Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said the competition gives students the opportunity to learn how to analyze business, how to write business plans and how to convey their ideas for the business they want to start.
"This is a great networking tool as well because students get to meet people throughout all the rounds," said Office Administrator Tara St. Clair.
The competition gives any full-time student enrolled in a four-year college in West Virginia a chance to submit a proposal for a business start-up in the form of an executive summary and a business plan.
However, it is open to both graduate and undergraduate students, and those students who will be graduating in December are welcome to participate as well.
"Last year, we had 117 entries, and our goal is to have 120 entries throughout the 21 colleges statewide this year," Cutright said.
Two separate tracks are offered for students: Innovation of Lifestyle, which is an open business competition form, and Hospitality and Tourism, which is style specific.
The competition consists of three rounds. The first round is a three-five page business summary that is due by noon Sept. 28.
A total of 60 judges will evaluate each plan online and reduce the number of contestants to 20 semi-finalists.
Once the 20 semi-finalists are selected, they then submit a 10 page feasibility study, which will take place Nov. 13 in Fairmont.
From that point those participants are judged and reduced to 10 finalists, who will submit a full business plan and will be judged the weekend of April 5 and 6 in Morgantown.
"The winner will receive a total of $10,000 plus an additional $5,000 worth of in-kind gifts," Cutright said.
Claire said the winners’ business must start in West Virginia, but afterward, they are allowed to expand it if they wish.
"This competition encourages businesses and helps our local economy by starting and staying in West
Virginia instead of graduating and moving away to start a business," she said.
Last year’s winner created a Bulls-I Breeding Technology startup in the hopes of making the rod placement within the reproductive tract faster and more accurate for beef and dairy cattle that need artificial insemination (AI).
"In the past, students have gained a knowledge on how to startup a business, operate a business, make business-judgment decisions and good feasibility studies," Cutright said. "It really gives them a full realm of a business evaluation and business startup capabilities."
Cutright said he believes the competition is challenging but very rewarding.
"One of my favorite parts about this competition is working with the students and listening to their ideas," Cutright said.
"Even though we can’t assist them in the formulation of their business plan at this point in time, we can listen to their questions and challenges."
Cutright said he also hopes WVU will produce high-level innovative business ideas and encourage and attract participation of private industry throughout the state to support the winners.
"Hopefully, we can be a top-50 rated school in the country and provide opportunities for students to pursue their goals as far as academic endeavors, as well as influence economic development initiatives throughout the state of West Virginia by having this business competition each year," Cutright said.
For more information on signing up, visit www.be.wvu.edu/bpc, or email Cutright, at email@example.com.