Glenville State College seniors Racheal Fetty and Caleb Greathouse
Glenville, WV - When the 7th annual West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition finals took place at the West Virginia University Alumni Center in Morgantown on Friday and Saturday, April 5th and 6th, two teams of Glenville State College students were competing for the top prize of $10,000.
The field of competing business plans had been narrowed to ten finalists, five in the Life Styles & Innovation category and five in the Hospitality & Tourism category, from a record number of one-hundred and forty-one business plans from eleven colleges and universities from around the state.
GSC seniors Racheal Fetty and Caleb Greathouse were finalists in the Life Styles & Innovation category for their business plan for 'EZ Reader,' an election ballot reader that allows for a quicker and simpler method of reviewing election ballots, which helps to ensure that votes are counted easily and correctly.
After the five finalists in the category had completed their presentations, the judges were having difficulties deciding between 'EZ Reader' and Randi Dove Farms an equestrian training tool. The product is rubber banding for equestrian riders to help keep their feet in the stirrups while correcting improper foot placement.
In the end, the $10,000 prize was awarded to Randi Dove Farms. However, for the first time in the history of the business plan competition, a surprise offer of a $10,000 investment was made to a second finalist.
INNOVA Commercialization Group, the private equity investment arm of the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation in Fairmont, made the $10,000 investment offer to Fetty and Greathouse for their EZ Reader.
"It's a really cool feeling to know a successful business believes in your idea enough to step up and offer their own money to support your business. After finals, INNOVA mentioned reading our business plan for the first time (before semi-finals), they stated they quickly saw the potential we had and had hoped they would be able to help our business out...winner or not," stated Greathouse.
The investment agreement is contingent upon the company completing due diligence requirements and the acceptance of the offer by the students. Fetty and Greathouse have not yet decided if they will take advantage of the investment opportunity.
Fetty is an Accounting and Business Management major and Greathouse is an Accounting and Computer Information Systems major. The couple is from Spencer (Roane County), West Virginia.
Greathouse is the son of Bob and Sue Greathouse of Spencer. Fetty is the daughter of Barbie Fetty and Steve Fetty of Spencer.
"I think we won something greater than a $10,000 investment from the competition. We were able to get real experience in professional poise and presentation that was invaluable. We went from shaking during a two minute presentation at semi-finals to giving a twenty minute presentation in front of a room full of esteemed business professionals with confidence. We spent so much time on our business plan and presentation to create something we were really proud of," said Fetty.