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WV Hive, WVU Tech Launch Lab announce top entries chosen to pitch at the Oct. 12 Southern WV Business Idea Pitch Competition

WV Press Sharing

BECKLEY, W.Va. – Leaders of the West Virginia Hive and West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) Launch Lab announced the entrepreneurs who will be presenting their business strategies at the October 12, 2023 Southern West Virginia Business Idea Pitch Competition on the campus of WVU Tech.

Initial entries received in the community and student categories were judged, and the in-person presentation line-up includes:


  • Peter S. Corum / SEE Appalachia, LLC / Kimball
  • Dane Gaiser / Gorge-ous Landscapes / Fayetteville
  • Teeya Mills / On Tour with Teeya / Hinton
  • Trey Swartz / Southern Pillar Jeweler / Oak Hill
  • Matthew Moore / Regions, LLC / Beckley


  • Ellen Groves and Jacob Odell / Sanctum Tor Farm
  • WVU Tech Entrepreneurship Club / Fantastic Festivals
  • Scarlet Janney / Lone Wolf Gym
  • Ana Noguera and Juan Martinez / App for Home Assistance

Diana Woods, director of the WVU Tech Launch Lab, said the top prize award for community submitted business entries is $2,250 for first place. Prizes of $1,000 and $500 will be awarded to the second and third place winners of the community business competition with a special prize of $1,000 to the first-place winner of the student competition.

There will also be a technical assistance package added to the community and student divisions in the amount of $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place, and $750 for third place awards.

The technical assistance funds will be used to contract vendors to provide important startup business services including marketing and accounting services or training, and website development.

Judy Moore, executive director of the WV Hive and deputy director of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, said a panel of judges will select the winners.

Entries were open to residents and businesses located in Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas, Summers, Webster, Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer, Wyoming, McDowell, Logan and Mingo Counties and WVU Tech students, faculty and staff. Businesses being pitched are required to be new start-ups or in operation for less than three years.

The event is from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on October 12.

The link to register to attend the pitch competition is: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pitch-southern-wv-business-idea-competition-tickets-696280442547?utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-medium=discovery&utm-term=listing&utm-source=cp&aff=ebdsshcopyurl

Woods said a new element with this installment is the “audience favorite” award. She said those in attendance will vote for their favorite business idea pitch, and the entrepreneur who receives the most votes will win $250.

Funds for the awards have been contributed by private sponsors, including United Bank (gold sponsor), New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (gold sponsor) and Stephens Auto and WV Auto Buyers (silver sponsor). All sponsorship funds are provided to the contestants as winnings.

The WV Hive is the entrepreneurship program of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority. More information about the WV Hive can be found at wvhive.com.

WVU Tech has been training leaders for more than 125 years. Ranked in the top 15% of earning potential in the country by PayScale and #1 in West Virginia for return on investment, WVU Tech has a reputation for producing career-ready leaders in the engineering, humanities, business and healthcare industries.

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