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Statewide Business Plan Competition sets new records

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The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in West Virginia: This year's Statewide Business Plan Competition shattered records for the number of entries and the number of participating colleges and universities.

The 2012-13 competition received 141 entries from 11 schools, both of which represent records.

Last year's 117 entries were the most ever received at that point, and the previous high in the number of participating schools in a single year was nine, also last year.

"Interest in the West Virginia Statewide Business Plan Competition continues to grow, and we couldn't be happier with the participation this year," said Steven Cutright, director of the WVU Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The center is housed in the College of Business and Economics, which hosts the annual statewide competition.

Winners in two categories will be awarded $10,000 for their first place business plans to proceed with establishing and opening their businesses in West Virginia.

Those two winners also will receive one-year professional services packages that includes legal and accounting services and space for one year in the WVU Business Incubator. The packages are valued at more than $6,000.

Of this year's 141 entries, 90 fall in the Lifestyle and Innovation category and 51 in Hospitality and Tourism.

Along with WVU, entries were received from Bluefield State College, Concord University, Fairmont State University, Glenville State College, Marshall University, Shepherd University, the University of Charleston, West Liberty University, Wheeling Jesuit University and West Virginia Wesleyan College.

"On behalf of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the state's higher education system, I applaud the West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition," said Paul L. Hill, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

"This competition, which is now in its seventh year, has provided nearly 700 student teams with an opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial spirit while networking with both their peers and business leaders from across the state," Hill said. "Such activities are a critical component of the student experience by stimulating learning and generating innovative ideas, products and services."

In those seven years, 14 West Virginia colleges and universities have participated.

"Our goal is to have participation by all 21 West Virginia colleges and universities," Cutright said. "We have worked very hard on expanding the competition into schools that may not have had much or any participation in the competition before. Great ideas are born on college campuses every day and it's important that the entrepreneurial and innovative platform the Business Plan Competition provides is made available to every student in West Virginia who wants to participate."

For information on the West Virginia Statewide Business Plan Competition, see www.be.wvu.edu/bpc.

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