FAYETTEVILLE — Create West Virginia and Valley Ventures Cafe, an initiative that fosters business innovation, will award one $5000 prize for the best new business idea at the 2015 Create West Virginia Conference, coming up September 24-26 in Fayetteville. All entries must be submitted online at www.gvecafe.com by September 1. Four finalists will make their pitches on Friday evening, September 25.
The contest is open to all West Virginians innovating within any existing or emerging industry, and to non-profit “social enterprises” working to address critical needs in local communities.
A panel of judges will select four finalists to present their ideas before a live conference audience.
Winners of previous competitions include farmers, social entrepreneurs, non-profits, artisans, and innovators who presented new ways to deliver services and products. “This competition is a unique opportunity for area entrepreneurs to present ideas to their peers and potential customers. We think Creative WV Conference attendees will agree that these entrepreneurs are on the front lines of innovation, and serve as inspiration to the state of West Virginia,” stated Lillian Graning, Chief Communications Officer for the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, sponsor of the $5,000 seed funding for the competition.
All finalists will receive conference admission courtesy of Vision Shared, a sponsor of regional Entrepreneurs’ Cafes. Contest rules and format information, and information about the Create West Virginia conference, can be accessed at www.gvecafe.com and www.createwv.org For specific contest questions, contact Katie Ickes at 304-667-7027.
Valley Ventures Cafe, formed in 2014 as a partnership among New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, New River Community and Technical College and Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation, hosts entrepreneurship competitions in the nine counties served by the NRCTC. Collaborating organizations have hosted at least twelve regional competitions with support of local sponsors and other economic development entities.
“Create West Virginia launched the first stateside Pitch Your Idea entrepreneurial challenge in 2012 to coincide with the fifth statewide conference,” said Sarah Halstead, president of the Create WV board. “Since then, Create WV has distributed $20,000 to startups to test their business ideas and assumptions. We’re interested in encouraging people with good ideas,” Halstead said.