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Join The Competition

Please note, that all completed entries will move from the “waiting” status in VentureDash to the “accepted” status after the noon deadline today, January 18th.

A blue square-shaped icon Track 1 Main Street

The Main Street track focuses on traditional, well-established types of businesses that often have a local or community-oriented presence. These businesses typically serve a specific geographical area and have a tangible physical presence, either as brick-and-mortar establishments or through e-commerce platforms.

Example:

  • Brick-and-Mortar Store: operates conventionally to offer products or services to its customers in an office or store
    • Examples: restaurant, tattoo parlor, or art gallery 
  • E-commerce Business: An online store that sells products or services. While it operates online, it may still be deeply connected to a specific community.
    • Examples: Online magazine, online fishing equipment
A purple lightbulb icon Track 2 Tech and Innovation

The Tech and Innovation track focuses on businesses that are innovative and technology driven. They are scalable business ideas that have the potential for rapid growth. These ideas forge the path and set new standards through their cutting-edge solutions.

Example:

  • This can include an invention, either new or innovating existing technology
  • An App: A company developing a new mobile app that offers a unique solution to a widespread problem.
  • Sustainability Innovations: A business focusing on scalable solutions to solve the worlds greatest challenges.
  • *Please note, your submission into IgniteWV can be a combination of both components (brick-and-mortar and E-commerce).

Entry Guidelines:

While participants are limited to entering only one business or business idea per track, they are permitted to submit different businesses or business ideas into each track.


Rules of Eligibility:

Open to those 18+ interested in registering a business in West Virginia.

Business Registration: Finalist businesses must be registered through the WV Secretary of State’s office and be compliant with the laws in the state of West Virginia. There are no restrictions on the geographic location(s) where the business operations shall occur.

Round One

Create a Team

Assign a team leader, who will submit the team idea via VentureDash. Teams are allowed to add or remove team members throughout the competition. Building a team with diverse skill sets is recommended. Each team leader may submit only one entry per year. This person will serve as the main point of contact for the team. The team leader may be on additional teams but can only serve as the team leader for one team per year.

Required

The team lead is responsible for submitting a 90-second (maximum) YouTube video to pitch their business idea via VentureDash.

Teams must address all of the following components in the 90-second (maximum) pitch video:

  • Business Idea: What is your business idea? Please provide us with a description of the idea (product, service, or invention).
  • Value Proposition: What problem/opportunity do you see? Why is it a problem? What is your solution to the problem?
  • Customer: Who is your ideal customer?

Must be a public Youtube Video

  • If you have proprietary information, you may submit supplemental documents that will not be public, but kept internally between the competition staff and judges. Judges will sign a nondisclosure agreement.

Videos over 90-seconds will be disqualified from entry.

Optional:

  • Supplemental materials (feasibility study, business plan, business model canvas, etc.) may be attached as additional documentation in round one with the video.
  • All supplemental materials must be submitted as PDF.
  • We will NOT accept any documents shared in cloud space (Google-Drive, One-Drive, etc.) as it makes it difficult for the judges to gain access should the file be restricted and need further access permissions.

Scoring

  • Each submission will be reviewed by a panel of judges comprised of various business professionals. Entries will be scored on a standard rubric.
    • Only the 90-second (maximum) video will be scored in accordance with the provided rubric.
    • Supplemental materials are highly recommended as they can provide additional background and information to the judges
  • Judges will select the top 5 teams from each track to move to the final round of competition. An announcement will be made by February 1, 2024.

If your team is selected to move to the final round, you will be required to participate in the following programs and events prior to the in-person final round of competition:

**Exceptions may apply based on prior completion of the I-Corps program.

Coaching

  • All ten (10) finalist teams will receive coaching provided by IgniteWV
  • All teams will be required to meet and work with your coach on your Final Presentation
  • You may have additional coaches, advisors, and mentors

I-Corps

The National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps) program is a virtual, part-time course that will help teach participants the importance of customer discovery and building out a value proposition. Over the four-week program, participants will connect to customers and refine their business model canvas. This program is required for IgniteWV finalists unless a finalist has already completed a WV regional course. The application can be found here. The course will run from February 19  – March 20, 2024. Course times will be determined once all applicants are enrolled.

Those who successfully complete the course will have access to up to $3,000 in travel funds to attend conferences, trade shows, or travel to meet with potential customers.  

For any questions regarding the program, reach out to:

 studentandfacultyinnovation@mail.wvu.edu


Round Two

Required:

  • Live in-person Final Presentation + Q&A

Optional:

  • Submit Business plan, TAM, and/or SAM, feasibility study, business model canvas, etc.
    • Submit online via VentureDash if applicable

Final Competition

  • Practice presentations are required
  • Presentation followed by Q&A
  • A minimum of one (1) team member is required to speak during this presentation
  • Final presentations are open to the public, business plans are not

Awards/Investment

  • $100,000+ in technical assistance funds will be awarded in the final round of competition
    • IgniteWV will not take equity in participating businesses in exchange for technical assistance funds
    • Although IgniteWV will not facilitate private deals with outside entities, finalists will have exposure to outside investment opportunities in the final round
    • Businesses awarded technical assistance funds through IgniteWV will have one year (365 days) from the award date to submit appropriate documentation to receive the full amount of funds.

CALENDAR

  • January 18, 2024 Round 1: 90-second video pitch
  • February 1, 2024 Announce finalists

    Judges will select finalist teams and an announcement will be made by February 1, 2024.

  • February 2024 iCorps Training (4 weeks)

    The National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps) program is a virtual, part-time course that will help teach participants the importance of customer discovery and building out a value proposition. Over the four-week program, participants will connect to customers and refine their business model canvas. This program is required for IgniteWV finalists unless a finalist has already completed a WV regional course. The application can be found here. The course will run from February 19  – March 20, 2024. Course times will be determined once all applicants are enrolled.

    Those who successfully complete the course will have access to up to $3,000 in travel funds to attend conferences, trade shows, or travel to meet with potential customers.

    For any questions regarding the program, reach out to:

     studentandfacultyinnovation@mail.wvu.edu

  • March 2024 Coaching
  • April 10, 2024 Round 2 (finals): Final presentation + Q&A

    Teams will be required to attend and participate in a practice presentation the morning of the competition.

    April 10, 2024 – Live Competition Presentation + Q&A

    • The final round of competition will be held on April 10, 2024, in Huntington, WV. Teams will present their final presentations followed by Q&A from the judges.
  • April 3, 2024 Final Round Documents

    Final round documents will be due April 3rd by noon

  • RESOURCES

    Use these helpful resources to help prepare a competitive business plan that will ignite your future success.

    Downloads Round 1 Rubric Guidelines Confidentiality