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West Virginia student innovators left an impact on the state in Impact Challenge Weekend


Students seeing the fashion industry first hand

On March 3-5, 2022, the WVU Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab in collaboration with the John Chambers College of Business and Economics and the Davis College of Agriculture, hosted and sponsored this year's Impact Challenge. This year's weekend event inspired thought-provoking impactful progress in Agribusiness Management and Fashion Design and Merchandising. Participants from middle school, high school, and the university joined together in several different groups to tackle various fundamental issues in our community and state. 

On Friday, the students from the two disciplines were separated and met with experts to focus on various topics such as sustainability, merchandising, and the customer's journey. During Friday's breakout session, the innovators also formed teams and brainstormed “what bugs them” to identify their passion. Through this collaborative workflow and feedback loop, the groups developed and honed their ideas. 

    Students developing their ideas using the LaunchLab's white board tables

During Saturday's breakout sessions, the groups received invaluable advice and direction to further the evolution of their ideas. The groups learned the importance of storytelling to engage their audience and enhance their pitches. Additionally, they learned the significance of market research to identify and refine the group's target market and a deep dive into business modeling.  

Sunday was pitch day! Both disciplines came together to deliver their pitches. Each idea presented was infused with a strong sense of environmental vigilance and community inclusivity. Each pitch was the culmination of everyone's spirited hard work. One team from each track came out on top and were recognized as the winners of this year’s Impact Challenge. This year's winners were:

  • Agribusiness Management: Country Roads Creamery - Focus on the sustainable economic growth of West Virginia's dairy farming community by highlighting the wild and wonderful through clever ice cream flavors. 

  • Fashion Design and Merchandising: (Re)Purpose - Focus on redesigning and upcycling fashion for any community member with keen sensorial sensitivities and perceptiveness.

The WVU Impact Challenge serves a multitude of greatness. The adventure encourages adaptation and adaptability through an intense but enriching experience. It nurtures positive innovative advancement for the betterment of everyone in West Virginia’s community and it strengthens the future of the state through collaborative diversity. 

Students seeing the Agribusiness industry first-hand