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WVU LaunchLab’s Welcome Back Pitch & Showcase competition focused on how students can move WV Forward

WVU Today

Students at the LaunchLab pitched their two-minute ideas on how they can help move West Virginia Forward by identifying a problem and solution based on WV Forward’s blueprint on September 6, 2018.
(WVU Today photo)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia University LaunchLab kicked off the 2018 Fall semester with its first Welcome Back Pitch & Showcase. Participating students presented a two-minute pop-up pitch, highlighting a problem and solution that apply to one of West Virginia Forward’s three main areas of focus: business, education or human capital. Students’ pitches included specific ideas on how we can bring more manufacturing jobs to the state, advance educational opportunities to students to retain talent in West Virginia – particularly among underrepresented populations – and create more jobs.

In addition to the pop-up pitches, current LaunchLab clients demonstrated their ideas and innovations to the crowd. This first event of the year gave participants and spectators a better understanding the resources, connections and successes that the LaunchLab offers.

The pop-up pitch competition’s winner was determined by hand-picked judge, John Williams, who serves as a Staff Attorney for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic at the West Virginia University College of Law.

Emma Hartle, a senior in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, pitched her idea on turning brownfields sites into agricultural educational facilities, partnering with local communities and after school programs to teach students how to produce food and learn about livestock while repurposing the land.

The audience had the opportunity to vote for their favorite present client.

Will Howard and Adam Roh, students in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, showcased their innovative mobile communications trailer, which provides radio wave access in dead zone areas across the state. They attend events to ensure safety communications when cell service is unavailable.

“LaunchLab students truly have some of the most innovative ideas that can potentially lead to investment opportunities, business start-ups or solutions to some of West Virginia’s most pressing challenges or untapped opportunities,” said Assistant Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Carrie White. “At the LaunchLab, we are proud to support our students by helping them build the confidence and skillset necessary to develop their ideas from infancy to investment-ready opportunity. The ability for our students to clearly and concisely ‘pitch’ their ideas is a learned skill we work on every day to help optimize their success in the real world and proudly move West Virginia forward.”

This is the first of four pitch competitions to be hosted by the LaunchLab Network this semester. In addition to helping students develop their ideas, inventions and business strategies, these on-campus competitions help prepare them for national competitions hosted by prominent business schools and corporations in which the judges are real potential investors.

Operating since 2014, West Virginia University’s LaunchLab Network serves as a comprehensive, one-stop shop to help students develop and commercialize their ideas, innovations, inventions or business models. In a motivating and supportive environment, the LaunchLab Network is an applied innovation center offers hands-on idea development support, education, mentorship, prototyping facilities, resources and connections to empower entrepreneurs across West Virginia. The LaunchLab Network is a part of the IDEA Hub ecosystem.

West Virginia Forward is a statewide effort to help uncover the best solutions to help advance the state’s economic future, following an independent blueprint of recommendations and ideas that can leverage growth and development opportunities to strengthen and diversify all regions of the state. To learn more about West Virginia Forward, visit

CONTACT: Carrie White, WVU LaunchLab
304.293.9391; [email protected]

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.

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