West Virginia University’s LaunchLab Network hosted its first Show of Hands pitch competition to encourage students to speak out about their ideas to spark social entrepreneurship and change. Five student teams pitched not-for-profit or social change ideas for products and businesses to a full crowd, who served as the judges for the evening. The top three contenders were those with the most votes. They were awarded monetary prizes to fund their projects, receiving $1,500, $750, and $500 respectively.
MORGANTOWN — For any Mountaineer who has an idea or even a hobby they’d like to see transformed into a business, the WVU LaunchLab can help them get started.
Since 2014, the lab — housed in the fourth floor of Evansdale Crossing — has served as a resource to point enterprising students toward engineering know-how to develop product prototypes, legal services for patents and establishing new intellectual properties and marketing.
A West Virginia University student placed second in a national competition that required him to explain his business idea in a 40-second elevator pitch.
By most estimates, bees are slowly disappearing. That’s an important fact since they pollinate roughly a third of all the food we eat, and over 80 percent of crops grown for human consumption need bees and other insects to pollinate them to increase the quality and yield of fruit. It’s not constrained to fruits and vegetables either. Nuts, plants used to produce oils, such as sunflowers, cocoa beans, coffee, tea and cotton are also dependent on pollinators.
With 64 hives that cover 170 acres of property, Matthew Byrd’s operation is a serious enterprise that is not only the story of one person helping to restore and protect the bee population — it demonstrates what occurs when you mix a student’s passion with University outreach and resources.
Cisco executive, alumnus to address new digital era’s impact on education at WVU’s David C. Hardesty, Jr.Festival of Ideas series
There is no doubt that John Chambers has made an indelible impression on the global technology industry. And while he retired as chief executive officer of Cisco Systems Inc., in 2015 and plans to step down as Cisco’s executive chairman of the board at the end of the year when his term expires, Chambers is fully ready to take on new challenges.
A 1971 finance graduate of the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics and a 1974 WVU Law graduate, Chambers will speak on “The New Digital Era and the Implications for Education” on Oct. 27 at 11 a.m. in the Mountainlair Ballrooms. The address is the latest in the David C. Hardesty Jr., Festival of Ideas series.
West Virginia University’s LaunchLab Network hosted its first Women’s Pitch Competition on Oct. 26 to encourage female students to push the limits of their entrepreneurial ideas, develop products and business models and showcase the results in a tightly-timed presentation to a panel of judges.
Eight students participated and the top three contenders were awarded monetary prizes to fund their business and product development, receiving $3,000, $1,500 and $750 respectively, thanks in part to the sponsorship of the Women of WVU Leadership Council.
The three-year grant will help expand services at the LaunchLab on the Morgantown campus and increase staffing and service capabilities at the LaunchLab at West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Beckley.
“We are absolutely thrilled and energized by the grant from the EDA,” said Mindy Walls, assistant vice president for entrepreneurship and innovation. “Every student who walks through our doors with a vision, a brilliant idea, or a business plan in hand is a potential business owner bringing revenue into West Virginia. This grant will allow us to help more of those young people bring their visions to fruition.”
First place: Samantha Farley and Kristin Hanlan
Second place: Jordan Hallow
Third place: Stephen Woerner and Ephraim Pittore.
Nora Myers has been named director of WVU
Tech’s LaunchLab, a resource center for entrepreneurial WVU
Tech students who want to start or grow new business initiatives.
Myers began her work at WVU Tech on August 21. In this role, she will provide guidance and resources to students interested in starting businesses. LaunchLab services include helping develop business plans, conducting market research, protecting intellectual property, accessing technical development expertise and recruiting partners and team members from the university community and beyond.