Collegiate, high school business plan competitions now accepting submissions

Submissions are now open for the West Virginia Collegiate and High School Business Plan Competitions, giving students the opportunity to compete for a $10,000 grand prize to bring their business idea to life.

The Business Plan Competitions are hosted by the Encova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at West Virginia University’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics and is open to all full-time higher education students from any academic major in the state of West Virginia.

Now in its 14th year, the collegiate competition affords students around the state the unique opportunity to further their innovative ideas with the support of state institutions of higher education and seasoned business professionals from around the country.

This is the eighth year for the high school competition. The grand prize for the high school competition is a college scholarship worth $10,000.

“This competition is important to the development of an entrepreneurial culture in West Virginia,” said Tara St. Clair, senior program manager of the Encova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “Students are being taught skills to aid them in starting businesses of their own, which we encourage them to open in West Virginia.”

The annual competition is part of a national network that includes Brigham Young University, San Jose State University, Utah Valley University and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Ray Zinn, founder of Micrel Semiconducters and the longest-serving CEO in Silicon Valley, provided $10,000 to the Encova Center to make it part of the ZinnStarter program.

“We are extremely grateful for the continued support of Ray Zinn through his ZinnStarter program,” St. Clair said. “The funds from ZinnStarter directly impact the students and aiding in the pursuits of owning their own company someday.”

Zinn, too, is excited for the continued opportunity.

“I am delighted to grow ZinnStarter at WVU and to grow the prospects of student entrepreneurs,” he said. “WVU is leading the way for a new era in West Virginia’s economics.”

Submissions for the college competition must be submitted by noon on Friday, Nov. 15. Entries for the high school competition are due at noon on Friday, Dec. 6.

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