Beckley, W.Va. (March 21, 2023) – The West Virginia Hive, in partnership with the West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) Launch Lab, announced the finalists chosen to present at the Pitch Southern West Virginia Business Idea Competition, to be held from 6-8 p.m. March 30 on the campus of WVU Tech.
Diana Woods, director of the WVU Tech Launch Lab and coordinator of the event, said both entrepreneurs/business owners and student entrepreneurs have been chosen to give in-person pitches of their business ideas before the judges and live audience. The judges will engage in a question-and-answer session with each presenter.
The top six applicants who have been selected to pitch in-person on March 30 and compete for first, second, and third place prizes are:
Trey Swartz – Southern Pillar Jeweler
Corey Lacey – Paws N Pals
Craig Slomers – Slomers Development LLC
Clint Blunt – Vinyl Tracks, LLC
Lee Ann Goins and Kathy Mills – Hinton Outfitters
Wauketa Okoli – Get Lifted
The top students who have been selected to pitch in-person and compete for the special WVU Tech student award are:
James Bennett- Bent Studios
Reegan Lively and Haley Holliday- MyMaintenance
WVU Tech Entrepreneurship Club
Woods said a panel of judges selected what they believed to be the “most promising business ideas to advance.” She added that the business idea competition is limited to entrepreneurs of new start-ups and businesses in operation for less than three years. Eligibility was limited to residents or businesses located in Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas, Summers, Webster, Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer, Wyoming, McDowell, Logan, and Mingo Counties, along with WVU Tech students, faculty and staff.
Sponsors helping with the business idea pitch competition and awards include:
- Gold Level sponsor: United Bank
- Silver Level sponsor: Chase and Ashley Barton of Stephens Auto and WV Auto Buyers
- Bronze Level sponsors: City National Bank, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce
- Special Student Award sponsor: Fayette County National Bank
On March 30, a panel of judges will select three top entries, with the first-place winner earning a $2,000 prize. Prizes of $1,000 and $500 will be awarded to the second and third place winners. A special award of $750 will be given for the top student pitch. Members of the audience will get to vote for their favorite and those votes will be factored into the award decisions. The funding for the awards is from private contributors.
Woods said the panel of judges will include a state agency representative, serial entrepreneur and investor, representative from a lending institution, and an educator.
RSVPs are required for attendance, as space is limited.
Attendees should be at the WVU Tech Life Sciences Building, Room 200, 100 Mel Hancock Way in Beckley, by 6 p.m. Registration is required.
Register to attend at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pitch-southern-wv-business-idea-competition-tickets-520533568917
The WV Hive is the entrepreneurship program of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority and the administrator of the Country Roads Angel Network. Its 13-county service area includes Raleigh, Fayette, Summers, Nicholas, Webster, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Monroe, Mercer, Wyoming, McDowell, Logan, and Mingo counties. More information about the WV Hive can be found at https://wvhive.com/
WVU Tech has been training leaders for more than 125 years and offers 30 academic programs, including 9 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.