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Women lead innovation at WVU in the Women Innovate Pitch Competition


women innovate

On Thursday, Oct. 27, The WVU Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab hosted its annual Women Innovate Pitch Competition. Six of the top innovators at West Virginia University pitched their idea to win funding for their business or invention. 

As the WVU LaunchLab’s final pitch competition of the semester, it served as a celebration of female entrepreneurs at WVU with students, faculty and staff presentations! This event was launched in 2017 after internal data revealed that only 17% of the LaunchLab’s clients were women. Since then, with the help of this event and determined innovators, that number has grown drastically each year. 

The judging panel consisted of Anna Carrier, Michele O’ Connor, Christy H. Davis, Karen Higgins and Chelsea Jacobs, an all-female board of industry professionals that represents multiple facets of entrepreneurship. 

The 6 Pitch Competition Participants:

  1. Emmy Severs, an Entrepreneurship & Innovation major, is the founder of Lemon Milk Paper Company. This stationery company specializes in hand-designed, colorful greeting cards, stickers, notebooks and more. (Winner of $2,000 in funding and Audience Popular Vote)

  2. Eva Toor, an Entrepreneurship & Innovation major, is the founder of the Stable Boy. This invention rethinks storage and display of horse riding saddles. (Winner of $1,800 in funding)

  3. Ashly Lovings, an International Studies major, is the creator of the Mental Health First Aid Kit. This new endeavor tackles connecting mental health resources to a young audience. (Winner of $690 in funding)

  4. Jane Peterson, a Davis College Multidisciplinary Studies major, is the founder of Plarnation. This company, and community building project, reworks and recycles plastic bags into practical fashion statements (Winner of $510 in funding)

  5. Heather Cole, an Interactive Design for Media professor in the Reed College of Media, is the founder of Mon River Games. This business is expanding into career-based simulation video game development. 

  6. Naimat Khani, a Management major, is the founder of Cuisine Port. This service delivers international cuisine and recipes to the doorsteps of both college students and families. 

The Women Innovate Pitch Competition is supported by the Women of WVU Leadership Council and the Women of WVU Enrichment Fund. Thanks to this generosity, participants were given the opportunity to win idea funding from a $5,000 prize pool.