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West Virginia Hive, WVU Tech Launch Lab Seeking Entries For 2024 Pitch Southern West Virginia Business Idea Competition.

Deadline for Entrepreneurs to Submit Proposals Is March 23

Beckley, W.Va. (February 29, 2024) – The West Virginia Hive, in partnership with the West
Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) Launch Lab, will host their next Pitch
Southern West Virginia Business Idea Competition on April 23, 2024, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
on the WVU Tech campus in Beckley, W.Va. The deadline for entrepreneurs to apply is March
23.
Diana Woods, director of the WVU Tech Launch Lab who is serving as coordinator of the event,
said, “The Pitch Southern West Virginia competition will look a little different this spring. The
format 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.
Apply online at https://wvhive.com/business-idea-competition/
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. 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 an opportunity to vote and the entrepreneur who receives the most
votes will win $250. Those interested in sponsoring should contact Beth Epperson at
bepperson@nrgrda.org or 304-460-4483. All sponsorship funds are provided to the contestants
as winnings.
“The Hive and Launch Lab have been amazed by entrants in past competitions,” said Moore.
“We have seen the winners go on to do remarkable things and the winnings helped them grow
and refine their business plans. We are honored to offer these opportunities for
entrepreneurial growth throughout southern West Virginia.”

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The WV Hive is the entrepreneurship program of the New River Gorge Regional Development
Authority. Its 13-county service area includes Raleigh, Fayette, Summers, Nicholas, Braxton,
Webster, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Monroe, Mercer, McDowell, and Wyoming counties. More
information about the WV Hive can be found at wvhive.com.
WVU Tech has been training leaders for more than 125 years. Ranked in the top 15% of earning
potential in the country by PayScale and #1 in West Virginia for return on investment, WVU
Tech has a reputation for producing career-ready leaders in the engineering, humanities,
business and health care industries. More information is available at wvutech.edu.