Starting a business from the ground up takes ingenuity, determination and funding. It’s certainly not an easy or small task. Just ask the students who annually compete in the West Virginia Statewide Collegiate Business Plan Competition.
Sponsored by West Virginia University’s Entrepreneurship Center in the College of Business and Economics, the competition provides students at universities around the state with resources to create a start-up company within West Virginia in one of two categories lifestyle and innovation or hospitality and tourism.
Of this year’s 15 finalists, six of them are students in the Davis College. All are members of Rural Enterprise Development taught by Fonda Holehouse, visiting assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics.
On April 9, they will give their business ideas one final push as they vie for two grand prize packages consisting of $10,000 cash, accounting, legal, and virtual or physical incubator space.
Over the next several weeks, we hope to feature these students and their business ideas on the blog.
Up first are the entrepreneurs behind Mountaineer Paintball Park – Ethan Bloomfield, an animal and nutritional sciences major from Valley Grove, W.Va., and Zachary Beamesderfer, an agribusiness management and rural development major from York, Pa.
They have one question on their minds:
Are you ready to “Get Your Splat On”?
After a trip to Pittsburgh to play paintball with their Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity brothers, the pair brainstormed a creative way to bring the game to Morgantown.
“We thought that we could offer the same experience a little closer to home and at a more affordable rate,” Bloomfield said.
The idea goes beyond strategizing to be the last man not covered in paint.
It’s about providing area families with a new form of entertainment.
“We feel the younger generation doesn’t have enough to do in Morgantown,” he added. “We are offering a safe recreational activity that people of all ages can participate in regardless of skill level, and we hope that this paintball park will have a positive effect on the Morgantown community.”
Located 10 minutes from downtown, the 12-acre park will feature four uniquely-themed courses. They include a wooded course with nature-based obstacles, an open field course with a variety of bunkers, and two hybrid courses combining wooded and open styles.
Along with having no direct competition, adding to the park’s attractiveness is its “green” business approach. Obstacles created from recycled materials and the use of biodegradable paintballs are just two examples of how they’ll work to ensure the activities at Mountaineer Paintball Park don’t negatively affect the environment.
Win or lose, the pair hopes to bring the year-round sport to the community.
The market, after all, is like some paintball courses wide open.