Bridging Innovate Week Is Coming to Wheeling

If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or part of an entrepreneur-serving organization (ESO),  hold onto your hats: Bridging Innovation Week is coming to Wheeling!

Bridging Innovations is an ideal event for those who are just starting out or looking to scale their business, providing promotional, educational, and business development opportunities. Connect with other entrepreneurs, resource providers, and educators to gain insight and explore state resources designed to help you grow your business.

This five-day annual symposium is hosted through the West Virginia Entrepreneurship Ecosystem and various state partners as a way to promote and foster entrepreneurs across the Mountain State. Keynote speakers, panel discussions, pitch competitions and networking opportunities will be offered throughout the week. 

“We are excited to bring Bridging Innovation Week to Wheeling. After last year’s event, we noticed it was difficult for those from the Northern Panhandle to engage,” said Tara St. Clair, Co-Chair. “Bringing it to Wheeling is a great opportunity to bring it to a new part of the state to collaborate with local public and private partners.”

The schedule is as follows:

Monday, April 17
Wheeling Artisan Center | Show of Hands | 6 p.m.

$5 donation to vote

Meet local entrepreneurs and help fund community projects at Show of Hands! During this event, four local business owners will present a project pitch that typically will assist them in expanding their business or better serving the community. Attendees will then vote to decide the winning project, and that business will receive door proceeds and donations from Show of Hands community partners. Learn more here

Wheeling Heritage program manager Alex Panas (left), presented the celebratory Show of Hands award check to Libbi Gramby (right), owner of Table 304 at a previous Show of Hands event.

Tuesday, April 18
WV Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Conference | Oglebay Resort | 8 a.m. – 5:30pm
$25 registration fee – register here


Don’t miss a day of keynotes, panels, workshops, and networking opportunities at the state’s premier professional learning and networking event. This event is geared towards current and prospective entrepreneurs, small business owners, ESOs, government representatives, and educators and students.

The schedule for the day is as follows:

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  • 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.: Vendor Showcase
  • 9:30 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.: Formal Programming
  • 4 p.m. – 5:30.p.m.: Networking Reception

Mingle at the Market | Centre Market | 5:30 – 10 p.m.

This event is free of charge and open to the public

After the conference, a trolley is available to take you to Downtown Wheeling and Centre Market, or you can meet us there. Visit local boutiques, restaurants and breweries while socializing with other Bridging Innovations attendees.

Arts + Veteran Pitch Competition | Towngate Theatre | 5 p.m.

This event is free of charge and open to the public

Hosted at Towngate Theatre, this event features incredible entrepreneurs pitching their businesses ad local artisan tables throughout the venue. 

  • 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Arts Entrepreneurs Pitch 
  • 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.: Veteran Entrepreneurs Pitch

Wednesday, April 19
WV Statewide Competition Day | Oglebay Resort | 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Pitches open to the public, followed by a private reception and awards ceremony – register here

Enjoy business model and community business plan competitions presented by a range of individuals at the high school, college, and community levels.

  • 10 a.m.: Marshall University Business Model Competition
  • 12 p.m.: WV Statewide High School, College, and Community Business Plan Competitions
  • 4:15 p.m.: Vantage Ventures Demonstrations
  • 5 p.m.: Reception and Awards Ceremony (private)

Thursday, April 20
Youth Entrepreneurship In Action Day | Oglebay Resort | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Closed to the public – WV Students and Educators Only

This hands-on learning opportunity for high school students allows them to experience entrepreneurship and innovation through activities and inspiring speakers. Remote and in-person options are available.

Bridging Innovation Week 2023 is made possible through generous sponsors. Week sponsors include the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the West Virginia Department of Economic Development, the West Virginia Department of Education, the Encova Foundation, and the Appalachian Regional Commission. For more information on this year’s event, visit WV BusinessLink. For questions regarding Bridging Innovation Week 2023, contact Ecosystem Co-Chairs Amber Ravenscroft and Tara St. Clair.

We hope to see you there!