Cash for business ideas

Now celebrating its 10th year, the annual Business Idea Competition at West Chester University welcomes all those who have business start-up dreams and big ideas to compete for $11,500 in prize money in the 2022 contest.

Ideas that have not yet been commercialized and can be used as the foundation for a new business are eligible for one of the four tracks in this competition:

  • WCU Undergraduates
  • WCU Graduate Students, Alumni, Faculty, and Staff
  • Chester County-based Startups
  • Chester County High School Students

Submissions are due on Friday, Feb. 25. Click here or visit www.wcubizidea.com to submit an entry.

Pattie Diggin, director of WCU’s Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center, notes that “This competition provides an opportunity for individuals and teams to explore new and exciting solutions through creative idea development. It promotes creativity and idea generation by recognizing innovative ideas for new products, services, and technology. The goals of the competition are to foster idea generation and to facilitate commercialization of business ideas.”

Participants will be evaluated in two steps. Ideas will initially be reviewed by business angels and business advisors. In a fast-pitch competition on Wednesday, March 30, the top ideas in each category will be selected for the in-person Business Idea Pitch Competition that will take place on Wednesday, April 20, at the West Chester University Foundation, 202 Carter Drive, West Chester.

Prizes include:

  • Grand Prize $2,500
  • First Place Prize in each track $1,500
  • Second Place Prize in each track $750

Proof that WCU’s BIC is a springboard to entrepreneurial success is evident in past winners from all categories, some of whose ideas have become reality. One example is last year’s start-up track first place winner Gene Williams, whose concept for Athletes Untapped sports coaching platform launched in August.

Another is Jake Henry, a junior Honors Pharmaceutical Product Development major and the 2021 BIC grand prize winner with his new venture, Lectra, a wireless and portable electrically conductive athletic tape designed for athletes who suffer from muscle strains. “The University’s Business Idea Pitch Competition was my first chance to test my entrepreneurial skillset,” he said. He later pitched Lectra at Entre’s Pitch Competition and took second place.

“Throughout the different phases of the competition, I learned how to create a successful elevator pitch and business model and I got first-hand experience pitching in front of a live audience. It has also given me connections that have helped me finish prototypes, acquire funding for business ventures and patents, and develop even more skills to take my business from an idea to a market disruptor.”

Henry was also among the 100 top collegiate entrepreneurs in the country who competed at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) People’s Choice Awards in Florida. He attended the conference with Diggin and Patrick Bassil, a WCU Business Management and Biology major, where they placed fourth of 35 competing teams in the market simulation segment.

The 10th annual WCU Business Idea 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 competition is Meridian Bank, and the Gold Sponsor is Univest.

WCU Business Idea Competition partners are SCORE of Chester & Delaware County and the Chester County Economic Development Council initiative i2n.

Business experts, Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic Angel Investors, and members of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce will judge the idea pitch.

Winners will be announced and awards will be presented at the conclusion of the Idea Pitch on April 20.

For more information, e-mail cottrellcenter@wcupa.edu or visit www.wcubizidea.com.

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