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Pair takes first place at West Virginia Collegiate Business Plan Competition

In what is believed to be a first at the West Virginia Collegiate Business Plan Competition finals, Marshall University students Aaron Simon and Ashley Hoskins finished first in the Lifestyle and Innovation category at the competition held in Fairmont, W.Va., and hosted by the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at West Virginia University.

Simon, a marketing major from Spencer, W.Va., and Hoskins, a double major in nursing and exercise science from Walton, W.Va., formed a new venture named “Farm to Fork Meat Processing” that provides a better means for harvesting and processing animals. In particular, the pair intend to utilize a federally-approved mobile unit that allows animals to be harvested and processed in a manner that minimizes trauma, improves safety and increases yield on the harvested meat. For the new venture and process, Simon and Hoskins received a $10,000 first-place award. In addition, ZinnStarter contributed an additional $2,000 to the pair, raising their total award to $12,000.

Simon and Hoskins said they were excited by the first-place finish, and looking forward to continuing the hard work that had carried the pair to victory at the competition. The award will be put to use in furthering the business venture, such as purchasing equipment and marketing the venture throughout the region.

“Farm to Fork Meat Processing LLC is a unique and more ethical way of processing animals. What makes us unique from conventional meat processors is that we travel to the producer to process the animal,” Hoskins said. “We will be able to be mobile by using a USDA-certified trailer that is equipped with all necessary processing equipment that meets the standards of the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation). This mobile processing unit will alleviate many problems that producers face when taking their animals to be processed.”

In the 13 years the West Virginia Collegiate Business Plan Competition has been conducted, this is believed to be the first time a Marshall University entry has taken the top prize.

For additional information about the West Virginia Collegiate Business Plan Competition, please contact Olen York at


About: The Lewis College of Business just celebrated its 50th anniversary as a college. The LCOB provides high quality innovative business education in a supportive learning environment.

Photo: Aaron Simon and Ashley Hoskins took first place in the Lifestyle and Innovation category at the West Virginia Business Plan Competition.