West Virginia Hive, WVU Tech Launch Lab to Host

2023 Pitch Southern West Virginia Business Idea Competition Oct. 12
Deadline for Entrepreneurs to Submit Proposals Is Sept. 14

Beckley, W.Va. – 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 October 12, 2023, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the
WVU Tech campus in Beckley, W.Va.
Diana Woods, director of the WVU Tech Launch Lab who is serving as coordinator of the event,
said a panel of judges will select the winners and award nearly $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.
Applications will be divided into community (non-student) and student divisions.

Woods said the deadline to submit an application is 5:00 p.m., Thursday, September 14, 2023.
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
October 12. 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.
In addition to the $2,000 grand prize, smaller prize awards will be given to second and third
place winners in the community division. Prize money for the community division must be used
to further develop the business idea. Top prize for the student division is $1,000, which can be
used to further develop the business idea or go toward the student’s education at WVU Tech.
Woods said a new element with this installment is the “audience favorite” award. Everyone in
attendance will have opportunity to vote and the entrepreneur who receives the most votes
will win $250. This years’ Gold sponsors of the event are United Bank and the New River Gorge
Regional Development Authority. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Those
interested in sponsoring should contact Beth Epperson at or 304-460-

  1. All sponsorship funds are provided to the contestants as winnings.
    “The Hive and Launch Lab encourage all eligible entrepreneurs and business ideators to apply,”
    said Moore. “Over the years, winners in this pitch competition have gone on to do remarkable
    things and the winnings helped them tremendously in creating or growing their small

businesses. We are proud to provide these opportunities for entrepreneurial growth
throughout southern West Virginia.”


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
WVU Tech has been training leaders for more than 125 years and offers 30 academic programs,
including 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. More
information is available at