West Virginia Hive, WVU Tech Launch Lab Extend Deadline for EntriesFor 2024 Pitch Southern West Virginia Business Idea Competition to March 31

Beckley, W.Va. (March 25, 2024) – The West Virginia Hive, in partnership with the West
Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) Launch Lab, announced it is extending
the deadline to March 31 for entries in the next Pitch Southern West Virginia Business Idea
Diana Woods, director of the WVU Tech Launch Lab, said, “Entrepreneurs have another week to
submit their entries for community recognition and a possible award.” The Pitch Southern West
Virginia competition has been restructured from ‘community’ and ‘student’ divisions to
‘incubation’ and ‘ideation’ divisions.” She said the incubation division is for entrepreneurs who
have already registered their business and have made their first sales. The ideation division is
for those who have not yet registered their business or who have registered but have not made
their first sales.
“We felt these changes were needed in order to group competitors in their respective stages of
start-up so they compete with others at the same level, as well as, to encourage new
innovators to participate in the competition,” said Woods. “The ideation division is ideal for

students and individuals who want to get early feedback on their ideas and to gain valuable
pitch experience, but are not yet ready to launch their business.”
Woods said a panel of judges will select the winners and award $5,000 in prizes. The funding
for the awards is from private contributors. Woods said the upcoming pitch competition is open
to residents and businesses located in Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas, Summers, Webster,
Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer, Wyoming, McDowell, Logan and Mingo Counties and
WVU Tech students, faculty and staff. Entries to the business idea competition are limited to
entrepreneurs of new start-ups and businesses in operation for less than three years.
Woods said the deadline to submit an application is 11:59 p.m., Saturday, March 23, 2024.
Applications can be downloaded at and should be emailed to Woods at: tech-
Judy Moore, executive director of the WV Hive and deputy director of the New River Gorge
Regional Development Authority, said a panel of judges will evaluate the entries to the Pitch
Southern West Virginia Business Idea Competition and select finalists to present in-person on
April 23 on the campus of WVU Tech. She said all finalists will be provided additional details and
afforded opportunities for coaching on how to create a winning pitch presentation.
During the in-person competition, each entrepreneur will have five minutes to present their
business idea to a panel of judges and explain why it is innovative and how it will make a
difference to residents of southern West Virginia. Each presentation will be followed by a brief
question and answer period with the judges. Prizes awarded include:
Incubation Division: First place: $2,000; Second place: $1,000; Third place: $750
Ideation Division: One prize: $1,000
Audience Favorite: $250

Prize money must be used to further the business idea. WVU Tech students also have the
option of using it toward their education.
Woods said a popular element of the competition is the “audience favorite” award. Everyone
in attendance will have opportunity to vote and the entrepreneur who receives the most votes
will win $250. Those interested in sponsoring the Pitch Competition should contact Beth
Epperson at or 304-460-4483. All sponsorship funds are provided to the
contestants as winnings.