Charleston, W.Va. — Secretary of State Mac Warner, the state's chief business registration official, is proud to announce his support and participation in the inaugural "WV Bridging Innovation Week" planned for April 12-16.
"Bridging Innovation Week" features a series of virtual competitions that promote and support entrepreneurship in West Virginia. Seven distinct competitions hosted by different agencies throughout the state focus on innovative and creative business ideas of students from elementary school age to college coeds and older. Finalists in each competition compete for cash prizes. One winner in one of the competitions will win $15,000.
A list of agency competitions and links to watch and listen to the presentations by the finalists in each competition is attached. The public is encouraged to participate. Entrepreneurs interested in being part of next year's competitions are also invited to participate.
"Entrepreneurship is alive and well in West Virginia," said Secretary Warner. "It's an honor for me to support these agencies and their efforts to encourage a thriving environment for new ideas and innovation."
Over the last three years, Warner has been active with the development of WV Entrepreneurship Ecosystem that brings state officials, academia, practitioners, business consultants and entrepreneurs together to create an environment where new ideas and innovation can thrive.
The WV Secretary of State's Office is responsible for registering all corporations and partnerships (for-profit, non-profit and not-for-profit) that conduct business in West Virginia. As of today, there are more than 117,000 businesses operating in the Mountain State.
Under his leadership and with the support of the West Virginia legislature, Warner opened the WV One Stop Business Center in 2018. The WV One Stop is the only five-agency single-location business and licensing center in the nation.
The schedule for "WV Bridging Innovation Week" includes:
Monday, April 12
The HSBPC offers high school juniors and seniors from across the state the opportunity to learn how to move a business idea from conception to action with the help of seasoned business professionals. Finalists receive the opportunity to pitch to real investors and receive $1,000 for their teacher's classroom.
Tuesday, April 13
WVIBMC is a statewide business model competition that is open to all students enrolled in a West Virginia higher education institution. The focus of the competition is designing desirable, feasible, and viable businesses that are attractive to investors. Students learn and apply entrepreneurial best practices like design thinking, business modeling, and lean startup to identify problems, create game-changing solutions, and develop business models by testing their assumptions on real customers. They will take what they learn and either validate key assumptions or pivot and change course.
Wednesday, April 14
i3 Day is normally a day-long annual competitive event showcasing the University of Charleston's culture of innovation through faculty, staff, and student presentations. Classes are canceled for the day so that all UC students can participate – either by presenting or supporting their friends who are. This year’s top 4 student presentations will be showcased in a public final round to determine the overall winner campus-wide.
Thursday, April 15
The StandWatch Academy program produces real-world businesses that provide high school students with educational and career choices. It successfully bridges the gap between what students learn in the classroom and what they will find in the marketplace after graduation.
WVU Extension Service and the WVU Chambers College of Business and Economics will highlight the voice of youth leaders through the “My Hometown is Cool” statewide competition. Teams of youths ages 9-18 are invited to submit a 3-minute video that demonstrates what makes your hometown cool and one idea for making your hometown cooler. The competition is open to teams of two or more youths in West Virginia.
Seed WV is a $15,000 cash prize contest for new product ideas that can be brought to market in 6 to 12 months and be sold nationally or globally. This contest is open to all WV residents and small businesses. Applications are due Friday, March 19, 2021. A final judging event, open to the public online via Zoom, will be held on Thursday, April 15, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Friday, April 16
The Collegiate BPC offers college students the opportunity to receive the education, skills, contacts, and motivation necessary to create a viable start-up company in West Virginia. Finalists receive $1,000 and pitch to real investors from across the country.