WVDE Encourages Students to Start Their Own Business

November 22, 2002

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia students have an opportunity to try their hand at starting their own business. Dreamquest 2002 is a student entrepreneurial contest that is sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Education, University of Charleston's Entrepreneurship Center and other agencies. It is designed to expand students' awareness and build business skills while they are exploring their career options.  

"West Virginia has watched thousands of its young graduates leave to find employment in other states," said State Schools Superintendent David Stewart. "High school students can learn more about owning and operating their own business, and this program will allow them to realize they can provide career opportunities and have a positive effect on the state's economy."  

Participants will be paired up with "Angel Investors" in their region who will finance the business concept with an investment. These Angels will critique and assist the would-be entrepreneur to help build successful businesses. They will work with their students to further develop their concept into a business plan.  

Teachers also will serve as advisors to the students as they draft a business model, its product or service, and a plan that will generate revenue.  

"This contest was developed to provide students a real-life experience and raise the awareness of entrepreneurship," said Norma Miller, Executive Director for the Office of Program Services. "We want the students and teachers to have fun with it, while at the same time learn valuable lessons."  

The top ten plans will move to the next phase of a statewide contest. The students of these plans will have the opportunity to present their business plans to a panel of venture capitalists during the state finals. Cash prizes of up to $5,000 will be awarded to each of the finalists in May 2003.

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