All attendees can vote for their favorite pitch
Beckley, W.Va. – The West Virginia Hive, in partnership with the West
Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) Launch Lab, announced the finalists
chosen to present at the Pitch Southern West Virginia Business Idea Competition, to be held
from 6-8 p.m. March 30 on the campus of WVU Tech.
Diana Woods, director of the WVU Tech Launch Lab and coordinator of the event, said both
entrepreneurs/business owners and student entrepreneurs have been chosen to give in-person
pitches of their business ideas before the judges and live audience. The judges will engage in a
question-and-answer session with each presenter.
The top six applicants who have been selected to pitch in-person on March 30 and compete for
first, second, and third place prizes are:
Trey Swartz – Southern Pillar Jeweler
Corey Lacey – Paws N Pals
Craig Slomers – Slomers Development LLC
Clint Blunt – Vinyl Tracks, LLC
Lee Ann Goins and Kathy Mills – Hinton Outfitters
Wauketa Okoli – Get Lifted
The top students who have been selected to pitch in-person and compete for the special WVU
Tech student award are:
James Bennett- Bent Studios
Reegan Lively and Haley Holliday- MyMaintenance
WVU Tech Entrepreneurship Club
Woods said a panel of judges selected what they believed to be the “most promising business
ideas to advance.” She added that the business idea competition is limited to entrepreneurs of
new start-ups and businesses in operation for less than three years. Eligibility was limited to
residents or businesses located in Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas, Summers, Webster,
Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer, Wyoming, McDowell, Logan, and Mingo
Counties, along with WVU Tech students, faculty and staff.
Sponsors helping with the business idea pitch competition and awards include:
Gold Level sponsor: United Bank
Silver Level sponsor: Chase and Ashley Barton of Stephens Auto and WV Auto Buyers
Bronze Level sponsors: City National Bank, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce,
Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce
Special Student Award sponsor: Fayette County National Bank
On March 30, a panel of judges will select three top entries, with the first-place winner earning
a $2,000 prize. Prizes of $1,000 and $500 will be awarded to the second and third place
winners. A special award of $750 will be given for the top student pitch. Members of the
audience will get to vote for their favorite and those votes will be factored into the award
decisions. The funding for the awards is from private contributors.
Woods said the panel of judges will include a state agency representative, serial entrepreneur
and investor, representative from a lending institution, and an educator.
RSVPs are required for attendance, as space is limited.
Attendees should be at the WVU Tech Life Sciences Building, Room 200, 100 Mel Hancock Way
in Beckley, by 6 p.m. Registration is required.
Register to attend at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pitch-southern-wv-business-idea-
The WV Hive is the entrepreneurship program of the New River Gorge Regional Development
Authority and the administrator of the Country Roads Angel Network. Its 13-county service area
includes Raleigh, Fayette, Summers, Nicholas, Webster, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Monroe,
Mercer, Wyoming, McDowell, Logan, and Mingo counties. More information about the WV
Hive can be found at https://wvhive.com/
WVU Tech has been training leaders for more than 125 years and offers 30 academic programs,
including 9 ABET-accredited engineering programs. Ranked in the top 15% of earning potential
in the country by PayScale and among the best undergraduate engineering programs in the
nation by US News and World Report, WVU Tech has a rich history of academic excellence.