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Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab clients take home nearly $200K in cash and prizes during Bridging Innovation Week

Bridging Innovation

Innovators and entrepreneurs from all parts of West Virginia will benefit from opportunities provided during the recently held second annual Bridging Innovation Week.

As part of the event, the Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab hosted the Arts Entrepreneur Pitch Competition at the Towngate Theatre in Wheeling.

Adam Payne won $5,000 for a new publication titled “YNST” and Joana Tsuhlares was awarded $2,000 for her original film “Hamlet: The Undiscovered Country.”

Also held was the Veteran Entrepreneur Pitch Competition, sponsored by the SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program. The awards for this pitch included $30,000 of technical assistance for veterans who either have a business or intend to start one.

The winners of this competition included: 

  • Dustin Ward, The Light Sleeper, $7,000
  • Bette Angle, Heart Healthy Cooking Classes, $4,500
  • Steve Ellison, $4,500
  • Chris Grimes, Mountain Cajun Getaway, $7,000
  • Jamie Summerlin, $7,000

The International Business Model Competition was held at Oglebay Resort the following day, filled with competitions and opportunities for these entrepreneurs. The top winners of this competition were LaunchLab clients Keiron Leonard who won $3,000 for his BedTech — heavy-duty truck accessories, and Soren Kowalski, who won $2,000 for his company Four Letter Word Games and his gaming app Seagull Smash.

The West Virginia Business Plan Competition was hosted by the Encova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the John Chambers College of Business and Economics. During this event, the following LaunchLab clients were awarded funding for their innovations: 

  • Adam Payne, “YNST” magazine, $8,000
  • Nate Arndt, Nate’s Handcrafted Nets, $15,000
  • Bobby Noble, Noble Growing Systems, $16,000       
  • Nikki Forester, Highland Outdoors Magazine, $19,000
  • Eva Toor, The Stable Boy, $35,000 
  • Dustin Ward, The Light Sleeper, $25,000
  • Lukas Thackery, Nate Widmer, Craig Dombrosky and Jordan Anfinson, BRITE, $40,000

The Morris L. Hayhurst LaunchLab is part of a University-wide network of centers, offices and programs that fosters and supports innovation and entrepreneurship around WVU students, faculty and staff while engaging the statewide community.