Student entrepreneurs from five West Virginia colleges presented their ideas to a panel of judges Tuesday.
The 20 student teams are semi-finalists in the annual W.Va. Business Plan Competition.
Semi-finalists made elevator pitches and gave interviews about their business idea. Students are competing in the categories of lifestyle and innovation or hospitality and tourism. Business proposals ranged from new restaurants to cell phone case companies and more.
The winner from each category will receive $10,000 in cash and $6,000 in services to start their business. Win or lose, participants said the whole competition is a learning experience.
"It helps out a lot, it definitely gives you a very good understanding as far as how business works," said WVU graduate student Steve Neff. "You work on your business plans, your feasibility plans, so it really helps lay the foundation to get your business up and running."
Event organizers hope that business competitions like this will spark more interest in entrepreneurship, especially entrepreneurship that will remain in West Virginia.
"I think it's a great thing for them, it gives them the confidence whether this business actually goes through or not," said event coordinator Tara St. Clair. "It's just going through the process, it's networking, they're meeting great people and they're getting feedback on everything that they're saying."
Five finalists in each category will be announced December 3. The final round of competition will be April 5 and 6 in Morgantown.