Business ideas to be presented in a local competition | News, Sports, Jobs

WELLSBURG – Several individuals or groups with ideas for new business ventures will compete for several thousand dollars to help them achieve their goals in a contest taking place Tuesday at Brooke High School.

The Ohio Valley Business Alliance Corp. will be holding their first business pitch contest at 5:30 p.m. in the school auditorium.

Admission is free for the event, which OVBAC member David Klick promises to be very interesting.

“We have a lot of people who have put a lot of time and thought into their projects,” said Klick, referring to the seven competitors from Brooke and Hancock counties with ambitions for a variety of companies.

Klick leads the event together with Dr. Heather Stone and Joan Simonetti.

He is among many Alliance members with previous ties to the Wellsburg Chamber of Commerce and the former Brooke County Department of Economic Development who have partnered to host business pitch competitions for several years.

“I would say we have the best applicants this year since I’ve been involved in the pitch. And it’s the biggest pot for the winners,” he said.

Klick said thanks to the generosity of local businesses and other organizations, the group will split $8,000 between the two winners, with the largest amount going to whoever takes first place.

He pointed out that the prize money will be paid out in the course of the development of the two business concepts.

Klick said the competition is similar in format to television’s “shark tank,” with contestants being given a limited time to submit their proposals to a panel of five judges.

The five are: Luke Diserio, chief executive officer of American Muscle Docks and Fabrication; Kelly Jeffers, winner of the last business pitch; Ingrid Loy, marketing associate at West Liberty University; Jay McLaughlin, vice president of accounting and finance at Wheeling-Nippon Steel; and Weirton attorney Michael Simon.

Each participant was instructed to prepare a presentation that included the estimated cost of their venture, their target market, and their vision for the company two to five years from now.

“We have a lot of people who put a lot of time and thought into their projects,” said Klick.

To help participants prepare, the Ohio Valley Business Alliance invited them to the West Virginia Small Business Development Center’s Inspiring You seminar series and directed them to other resources.

The free seminars, held at the Brooke County Public Library, provide would-be and existing business owners with guidance on topics ranging from developing a business plan to marketing their goods and services to potential customers to understanding financial statements.

In addition to the event’s sponsors, Klick thanked the Chambers of Commerce of Weirton, Follansbee and Wellsburg, who also provided support; and Brooke County School Officials for providing the auditorium for the group.

He said the group hopes to spur economic growth across the northern panhandle and sees events like the competition as a way to help.

“We think that could really be enough to put someone’s needle on the ground,” said Klick.

(Scott can be contacted at [email protected])

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