Pitch Contest Fuels Downtown Businesses

The last two West Liberty University Entrepreneurs Pitch Contest winners have since opened Downtown Wheeling businesses.   Today, the two establishments are thriving and inspiring others to do the same.

September 2014 Winner: Lindsay Schooler

Business: Happy Goat Yoga


March 2015 Winner: David and Betsy McFarland

Business: Mmm…Popcorn


West Liberty University’s sixth Entrepreneurs Pitch Contest will be held from 6 – 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the Children’s Museum, 1000 Main St., Wheeling. (It was originally planned to be at the new Centre Market location of the Children’s Museum.)

“We have a great keynote speaker Jesse Lear, a young entrepreneur from Columbus, Ohio, who will share his success story at 6 p.m., and then we begin the start-up pitches at 6:45. We are grateful for our sponsors’ input and assistance in making this another fine example of business to business outreach,” said Dr. Carrie White, director of WLU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and associate professor of business at its Gary E. West College of Business.

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Sponsors include the Children’s Museum of the Ohio Valley, TechConnect, RED Partners, Vision Shared and the Gary E. West College of Business. The contest offers a $2,500 award to the winning business presentation.

“The pitch contest is an enjoyable way to network, pitch new ideas, and potentially receive funding based on audience participation. Our pitch contests have fueled seven businesses locally now, and we are pleased to continue this effort,” she said.

Judges for the competition include:

·      Executive Director Anne Barth, who leads West Virginia’s technology based economic development entity, TechConnect;

·      President Cory Dennison of Vision Shared, West Virginia community and economic development organization;

·      Columbus businessman Jesse Lear, owner of VIP Waste Services, serving Central Ohio.

·      WLU Alumnus Vincent Leusner, partner and vice president with Keiretsu Forum financial management company, Pittsburgh.

The Center for Entrepreneurship is a division of the Gary E. West College of Business and offers catalyst for innovation and job creation in West Virginia and the region. The pitch contest is just one of the new business programs that it fuels annually. Others include: a business incubator housed in WLU’s Main Hall and an entrepreneurship minor for WLU students.

Entrepreneurs seeking more information should contact White at 304-336-8159 or at cwhite@westliberty.edu. For complete information on the Gary E. West College of Business, visit westliberty.edu/westbusiness.