West Virginia business plan competition sees record entries - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

West Virginia business plan competition sees record entries

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MORGANTOWN, WV — There is a record number of entries in this year's West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition, with prizes awarded after a final round of competition on April 4 in Morgantown.

A record 235 entries were submitted from 11 state higher education institutions for the 2013-14 competition, which will run during the course of the academic year. This year's submissions break last year's record of 141 entries.

Entries were received this year from Bluefield State College, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Glenville State College, Marshall University, Shepherd University, University of Charleston, West Liberty University, West Virginia State University, West Virginia University at Parkersburg and West Virginia University.

The Brickstreet Center, part of the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, hosts the annual competition.

The competition will consist of three categories this year; the new category is STEM-related business ideas in areas such as engineering, technology, energy and health care.

A new category of competition also means another grand prize of $10,000 and another prize package including legal and accounting services estimated at a value of $4,000. That means a total of three grand prizes and three prize packages for three winning teams.

Steven Cutright, director of the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said a breakdown by category shows 24 entries in the new STEM category; 88 entries in Hospitality & Tourism, which will focus on products or services relevant to hospitality, restaurants, hotels, tourism or related fields; and 123 entries in the Lifestyle & Innovation category, which will focus on products or services that are part of daily life or new innovations.

 "There has been a surge in entrepreneurial interest in West Virginia and across the country in recent years, and I think the incredible number of entries this year demonstrates that," Cutright said. "As with anything, you're constantly looking to improve. Adding the STEM category was critical, as was making extra efforts to inform all four-year college students in the state about the competition."

Last year's competition had a then-record 141 entries from a then-record 11 participating schools.

"In the past, we've been very conscientious about getting the absolute best judges available, and we've even improved that. All in all, we're very happy and are looking forward to a fantastic business plan competition this year," he said.