It only takes a quick glance around West Virginia’s communities to recognize how important a role entrepreneurs play in our quality of life. In an effort to develop a thriving culture of entrepreneurship in southern West Virginia, five innovators with ideas to improve foods, fitness, agriculture, and our environment will vie for over $1,000 of seed funding at the Valley Ventures Entrepreneur Café on January 19th, 2016. This competition will be held in conjunction with the open house of The Hive, and Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours in O’Dell Hall (282 Minnesota Ave. Beckley) located on the new WVU Beckley campus, on January 19.

Five finalists were selected to present their ideas before an audience of crowd-funders beginning at 6 pm at The Hive.  Crowd-funders will donate $10 to the seed funding for the winner and receive a delicious dinner from Pasquale’s and a ballot with which they will select the winner.   Seed funding totaling $1,000 was donated by Vision Shared and BB&T, with Vision Shared also sponsoring dinner.

Vision Shared first launched the Entrepreneur Café program throughout the state several years ago. Since then, more than 14 competitions have been presented regionally through the Valley Ventures partnership of New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, New River Community and Technical College, Region 1 Workforce Development Board, and Greenbrier Economic Development Corporation.

Innovators to present:

  1. Jordon Masters of Allegheny Genesis with a diverse agriculture business focusing on specialty crops, such as microgreens. It also provides year round fresh produce to school systems while educating students on alternative crops and sustainable farming.
  2. Adam Stephens of Baddlun.com, will provide a web-based company that plans to be the hub of racing that is formatted around biking, paddling and running.
  3. Evan Dodrill of The Herdsman will provide a tracking device that will give the comfort of knowing the exact location of any animal.
  4. Jason Walker of Green River Garden Center plans a Bio-Soil Production Facility to create a product to cleanse storm water runoff from road and parking surfaces and prevent chemicals from reaching the water shed of natural streams and river basins.
  5. Kevin Traube of the Outside-In Climbing Gym has recently opened a year round location for fun and exercise with a vision to develop after school climbing programs for elementary and middle school students.

Student teams from Bluefield State College will also present entrepreneur projects in a brief student contest as votes are tabulated for the Valley Ventures contestants.

Activities at The Hive prior to the competition will include tours of the many coaching, development, and creation labs, as well as demonstrations of new technology. Flex office and soft landing space will also be open for tours. A multitude of resources provided through The Beckley Hive will be available for the public and entrepreneurs to interact with.

Plan to attend this exciting evening highlighting entrepreneurism in the region.  Registration to attend can be made in advance at www.gvecafe.com and crowd-funding donations of $10 can be made at the door.  Entry to the Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours will be $5 at the door.

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