Students pitch ideas in Business Plan Competition Round 2 - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Students pitch ideas in Business Plan Competition Round 2

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"Cheaper than a DUI" was part of WVU student Eric Watkins' pitch for Dub V Safe Ride, a designated driver service, in the Nov. 13 West Virginia Business Plan Competition Round 2 in Fairmont. "Cheaper than a DUI" was part of WVU student Eric Watkins' pitch for Dub V Safe Ride, a designated driver service, in the Nov. 13 West Virginia Business Plan Competition Round 2 in Fairmont.
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FAIRMONT, WV -

Affordable clothing for showing horses, an organic community-oriented restaurant and a late-night taco stand are among the ideas pitched by student teams Nov. 13 at the West Virginia Business Plan Competition semifinals in Fairmont.

In Round 2 of the 2013 competition, 20 semi-finalist teams from five colleges and universities submitted business feasibility summaries and underwent interviews by judges.

They also presented their ideas in snappy two-minute "elevator pitches" to a room of around 200 voters, official competition judges as well as "people at large" invited by the competition organizers.

Of an original 141 applicants from 11 colleges, only 10 of the 20 semifinalists will advance to the finals: five in a Lifestyle & Innovation category and five in Hospitality & Tourism.

Crown Pointe Outfitters, a business pitched by West Virginia University student Casey Tibolet, would enter an unexploited niche in mid-range equestrian outfitting.

"Showing horses is expensive," Tibolet said. "A custom-made riding suit can cost upwards of $3,000."

Tibolet should know — she's been showing since she was four years old and is a multi-time national champion and a two-time world champion.

Crown Pointe would retrofit a horse trailer to feel like a high-end boutique, she said. The shop on wheels would travel to 30 horse shows a year, enabling customers to buy and sell merchandise on site.

Planet, proposed by Robbie Parker of Concord College, would be an organic, community-oriented restaurant in Charleston's East End.

"There are 124,000 people living there, with growing families," Parker said. "We need this for a more community-oriented lifestyle in the East End."

Planet would use only West Virginia-based products and would be "a place for everyone to come for entertainment, epicurianism and education," he said.

And students at Marshall University would have a new late-night option if their fellow student Sam Frazier started Tacos Nocturnos, a Thursday-through-Saturday dining cart.

Frazier would serve chicken and beef tacos with all the standard condiments, and he would overcome his competition with affordability and accessibility.

Other pitches included Precision Tools, with a new type of drywall cutting bit, pitched by Charles Cline of WVU; Delivery 2U, a meal delivery service proposed by Joshua Ramsey and Preston Veal of Glenville State College; Holy Cow Livestock Sales, an eBay-style cattle auction service offered by Thomas Schenkel of WVU; and Ivory Lace, a plus-size custom bridal boutique proposed by Andrea Haymond of Shepherd University.

The West Virginia Business Plan Competition is hosted by the West Virginia University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Round 2 results will be announced Dec. 3. The 10 finalist teams will compete in the spring for two prizes of $10,000 in cash plus $6,000 in business services. The two winning teams must establish their businesses in West Virginia.