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Turning Innovation Into Enterprise


Student Entrepreneurship: WV Collegiate Business Plan Competition

West Virginia University won two categories and the University of Charleston notched its first-ever Small-Bus-Competition-Logocategory win at the 10th Annual West Virginia Statewide College Business Plan Competition. The winners were announced at the event finals on April 8, with the teams earning top spots in each of three categories and taking home $10,000 first prize awards to help make their business ideas come to life.

Winning teams included Creative Health, WVU, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) category; GoPlay Enterprises, WVU, Lifestyle & Innovation category; and Appalachian Aqua Farms, UC, Hospitality & Tourism category. They were named the best of five finalist teams in each category and each will receive a $10,000 cash prize and accounting and legal services, as well as virtual or physical incubator space.

“The creativity and ingenuity of these business plan competition teams has resulted in some pretty incredible, and yet very solid, business ideas,” said Julia Bolt, assistant director, BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, located within the WVU College of Business and Economics.

The annual business plan competition is hosted by the WVU business school, and this year saw 209 entries from 13 West Virginia universities and colleges.

Creative Health is a company whose mission is to produce innovative healthcare products to improve the medical experience for patients and their families, as well as healthcare professionals. The team included Reem Eldawud and Emily Wells, now a two-time winner in the state’s collegiate business plan competition.

GoPlay Enterprises, entered by student Noelle Honeycutt, is a sports development company focused on improving the skills of coaches and players in youth sports while promoting a love of the game. The company would develop mobile apps to teach coaches, communicate with parents and provide knowledge on the sport itself.

Appalachian Aqua Farms is a food production company that would provide high quality food produced locally in a controlled environment and delivered fresh directly to customers. Comprised of team members Ashley Clark, Donnie Ney and Christopher Veazey, the company would use alternative farming techniques such as aquaculture, aquaponics and hydroponics to provide food year-round.

“I know I speak for our panel of judges, who were from across West Virginia as well as Tennessee and Washington, D.C., when I say that we were all duly impressed by the variety of submissions in this year’s competition,” Bolt said, “as well as the thought that went into them. Students across the state did a great job, and we’re not going to stop improving this competition for them. Some of those improvements will be quite visible next year.”

Now in its tenth year, the event has seen participation from nearly all of West Virginia’s colleges and universities. In addition to the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the collegiate competition received support from BB&T, West Virginia Small Business Development Center and the WVU College of Law Entrepreneurship Clinic.

For further information on the West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition, visit