Now celebrating its 10th year, the annual Business Ideas Competition at West Chester University welcomes anyone with business start-up dreams and big ideas to compete for a prize of $11,500 in the 2022 competition.
Ideas that have not yet been commercialized and that can form the basis of a new business are eligible for one of four tracks in this competition:
- WCU Undergraduates
- WCU Graduate Students, Alumni, Faculty, and Staff
- Startups based in Chester County
- Chester County Secondary School Students
Pattie Diggin, director of the Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center at WCU, notes that “this competition provides individuals and teams with the opportunity to explore exciting new solutions through the development of creative ideas. It promotes creativity and idea generation by recognizing innovative ideas for new products, services and technologies. The objectives of the competition are to foster the generation of ideas and to facilitate the commercialization of business ideas.
Participants will be assessed in two stages. Ideas will first be reviewed by business angels and business advisors. In a quick launch competition on Wednesday March 30, the top ideas in each category will be selected for the in-person business idea pitch competition taking place on Wednesday April 20 at the West Chester University Foundation, 202 Carter Drive, West Chester.
- Grand Prize $2,500
- First place prize in each track $1,500
- Second place prize in each track $750
Evidence that WCU’s BIC is a stepping stone to entrepreneurial success is evident in previous winners across all categories, some of whose ideas have become reality. One example is last year’s startup track first-place winner Gene Williams, whose sports coaching platform concept Athletes Untapped launched in August.
Another is Jake Henry, a pharmaceutical development junior and 2021 BIC Grand Prize winner with his new venture, Lectra, a wireless, wearable electrically conductive athletic tape designed for athletes with muscle strain. “The University’s business idea pitch competition was my first chance to test my entrepreneurial skills,” he said. He then pitched Lectra in the Entre pitch competition and took second place.
“Throughout the various phases of the contest, I learned how to create a successful elevator pitch and business model and gained first-hand experience in front of a live audience. helped complete prototypes, secure funding for commercial ventures and patents, and develop even more skills to grow my business from an idea to a market disruptor.
Henry was also among the top 100 college entrepreneurs in the nation who participated in the People’s Choice Awards of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) in Florida. He attended the conference with Diggin and Patrick Bassil, a business management and biology specialist from WCU, where they placed fourth out of 35 competing teams in the market simulation segment.
The 10th Annual WCU Business Ideas Competition is co-hosted by WCU’s Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center, the Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic and the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce.
The presenting sponsor of the contest is Meridian Bank and the gold sponsor is Univest.
Partners for the WCU Business Idea competition are Chester & Delaware County’s SCORE and the Chester County Council for Economic Development’s i2n initiative.
Business experts, angel investors from the Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic and members of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce will judge the idea.
Winners will be announced and prizes will be awarded at the end of the Idea Pitch on April 20.