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Marshall students have top number of proposals in statewide business plan competition
Friday, October 25, 2013 - 15:56 Updated 6 weeks ago Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University
Marshall University students have submitted the most entries in this year's West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition, which is sponsored by the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at West Virginia University. Out of a record 235 entries from 11 state universities and colleges, 107 are the work of Marshall students.
The annual competition showcases the desire to start West Virginia businesses and gives college students the opportunity to win $10,000 worth of goods and services toward transforming their business idea into reality. The second round of the competition will be hosted by Marshall University on the Huntington campus Nov. 22.
Elizabeth Reusch, assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship in Marshall's College of Business, is impressed with the enthusiasm of the students who submitted their ideas.
"Given the size of Marshall University, 107 is an impressive number," Reusch said. "I think everybody should be wowed by the fact that so many of our students are willing to take a chance on their ideas. Entering a fledgling idea into a competition like this takes a lot of guts.
"In West Virginia, approximately 97 percent of our economy is based around thriving small businesses. If we want to help ensure the future success of West Virginia, we need to encourage our students to think like entrepreneurs. I am superbly proud of our students."
She said two years ago, Marshall had five plans in the competition. Last year, 70 students took the plunge, with two plans making it to the semi-final round.
Even if no Marshall students make it into Round 2 for the semi-finals, Reusch said the fact that so many took a chance on their ideas is admirable. "We know most successful entrepreneurs fail spectacularly with their first few ideas. I'd like to see our students get that out of the way, learn that sometimes great ideas aren't profitable and that business plans are beneficial to helping determine what ideas will and won't work."
The complete list of institutions and number of submissions includes: Bluefield State College, 4; Concord University, 4; Fairmont State University, 3; Glenville State College, 1; Marshall University, 107; Shepherd University, 11; University of Charleston, 2; West Liberty University, 5; West Virginia State University, 3; West Virginia University, 94; and WVU at Parkersburg, 1.
There are three rounds in the business plan competition. Round 1 requires a 3-page summary of a business idea, which will be scored by a panel of judges using a scoring rubric. Up to 10 teams in each category will be selected to advance to Round 2, which will be hosted by Marshall. This semi-final round consists of three levels - a feasibility study, a two-minute elevator pitch, and a series of interviews. The top five teams in each category emerging from the semi-finals will advance to the final round, which will be held at WVU.
In the final round, teams will be given comprehensive instruction and support in developing a complete business plan, a business coach/mentor, and a stipend of $1,000 to cover costs associated with developing their business. Each finalist team submits a 20-page business plan to a panel of judges and then makes an oral presentation to a panel. One team per category will be awarded a $10,000 prize in April. Categories include: Hospitality and Tourism, Lifestyle and Innovation and a new STEM-related business category that covers engineering, technology, energy and health care.
For more information about the annual statewide collegiate business plan competition, please visit http://www.be.wvu.edu/bpc.