The 2021 West Virginia Innovation and Business Model Competition (WVIBMC) will mark the third year of the competition. This exciting event is hosted and designed by the Center for Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship (iCenter), part of the Marshall University Lewis College of Business and Brad D. Smith Schools of Business.
While 2019 was the first year of the WVIBMC, this endeavor owes its origin to the Innovating for Impact 2017 Design for Delight Innovation Challenge. In late March 2017, teams from seven of Marshall University’s colleges were taught Design for Delight (D4D), Intuit’s customer-driven innovation approach, by the company’s top Innovation Catalysts. Teams were challenged with applying these innovation techniques to three specific challenges facing West Virginia: education for youth, substance use disorder, and technology. In April, the seven teams went on to present their ideas to a panel of celebrity coaches in the style of the popular reality TV show “Shark Tank.” The celebrity coaches were Marshall alumnus Brad D. Smith, former Intuit CEO and current Executive Chairman, Marshall and NFL football legend Chad Pennington, and actress, producer, and philanthropist Jennifer Garner.
The WVIBMC focuses on developing a business models that are validated through customer feedback and field research. The contest rewards teams for breaking down ideas into hypotheses, testing their assumptions with customers, applying customer-driven innovation and lean startup principles to make sure they refine the model for improved success, and pivoting until they have a customer-validated business model. The goal is to promote new business ventures among university students to encourage innovation and the building of disruptive and scalable startups.
This multi-institutional, collaborative event is made possible with the generous support of the Robert E. Yancey, Sr. Entrepreneurship Endowment.