For business and employee resources, information, and updates on COVID-19, please visit the WV Hive website.

Pitch Southern West Virginia Business Idea Winners Impressed Judges and Audience at Last Night’s Competition

Photo courtesy of WV Hive: Organizers and winning entrepreneurs from the Pitch Southern West Virginia Business Idea Competition are (left to right) Judy Moore, deputy director of the NRGRDA and executive director of the WV Hive; Jordan Casey and Steven Jones, co-owners, Botany Tropicals; Adena Joy, owner, Hills to Hills Tours and Shuttle; Ruschelle Khanna, owner, Mountain Mama Stitchery; and Diana Woods, director of the WVU Tech Launch Lab.

Beckley, W.Va. (Sept. 14, 2022) – After several impressive presentations, three Southern West Virginia entrepreneurs offered winning pitches of their business plans for start-up or expansion and were rewarded with cash prizes and the knowledge their ideas may be worthy to implement.

Winners selected by the judges and audience included:

Hills to Hills Shuttles & Tours
Adena Joy, Fayette County
1st Place – $2,000
Sponsored by United Bank

Mountain Mama Stitchery
Ruschelle Khanna, Raleigh County
2nd Place – $1,000
Sponsored by NRGRDA

Botany Tropicals
Jordan Casey, Summers County
3rd Place – $500
Sponsored by NRGRDA
Also winner of Best STEM Related Idea -$750, plus STEM-focused technical assistance provided by the WV Hive

Each awardee also received a gift card from Domino’s of Beckley, Daniels and Fayetteville. Funding support for the event was provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.

“All of our entrepreneurs were impressive tonight,” said Diana Woods, director of the WVU Tech Launch Lab and coordinator of the event. “The judges had really difficult decisions to make.”

Judy Moore, deputy director at the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority (NRGRDA) and executive director of the WV Hive, joined WVU Tech president Carolyn Long in welcoming the presenters as well as the panel of judges representing serial entrepreneurs, investors, representatives from lending institutions, legal advisors and educators.

Judges for the event were:

  • Jina Belcher, Executive Director, New River Gorge Regional Development Authority and Chairman of the Board, WV Hive
  • Kevin Combs, Chief Executive Officer, Molecular Biologicals and Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, Country Roads Angel Network
  • Dr. Kyung Moon Kim, Associate Professor – Department of Accounting and Management, WVU Tech and Advisor to the WVU Tech Entrepreneurship Club
  • Melanie Leach, Branch Manager, Beckley, United Bank
  • Dr. Angela Peterson, Assistant Professor – Department of Accounting and Management
  • John Williams, Staff Attorney and Program Director, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic (EILC), West Virginia University College of Law

The West Virginia Hive, in partnership with the WVU Tech Launch Lab, hosted the in-person Pitch Southern West Virginia competition after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19.

Moore said the business idea competition was open to entrepreneurs of new start-ups and businesses in operation for less than three years. Eligibility was limited to residents or businesses located in Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas, Summers, Braxton, Webster, Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Monroe, Mercer, Wyoming, and McDowell Counties, along with WVU Tech students.

The WV Hive is the entrepreneurship program of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority and the administrator of the Country Roads Angel Network. Its 12-county service area includes Raleigh, Fayette, Summers, Nicholas, Braxton, Webster, Greenbrier, Pocahontas, Monroe, Mercer, McDowell, and Wyoming counties. More information about the WV Hive can be found at
Country Roads Angel Network, administered by the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority’s WV Hive, is a non-profit corporation based in Beckley and serving all 55 counties of the Mountain State. CRAN offers emerging businesses early stage, seed funding to bring their creations to market. CRAN has recruited qualified investors to evaluate, invest in, and mentor individual startup businesses and completes the NRGRDA ecosystem of innovation and health, attracting a new economy to a region of boundless natural beauty and possibilities.
WVU Tech has been training leaders for more than 125 years and offers 30 academic programs, including 9 ABET-accredited engineering programs. Ranked in the top 15% of earning potential in the country by PayScale and among the best undergraduate engineering programs in the nation by US News and World Report, WVU Tech has a rich history of academic excellence.