During Innovation Day at UVa-Wise on Friday, seniors Tara Greear and McKenna Blevins received $6,000 in startup funds from G2K Games to move their marketing idea to the next level.

Greear and Blevins presented their social media marketing business idea “Reach More Marketing” to four judges during the competition. Reach More Marketing is designed to set up social media accounts, create pages and design social media marketing material for businesses to use on all platforms. Their business plan edged out senior Kaitlynn Davis’s plan to promote hemp farms in the region for the purpose of selling oil from the plant as a pharmaceutical commodity. The marketing idea also topped a proposal from junior Mackenzie Lawson to open a coffee shop in Norton called the Vine Coffee House. The coffee house would serve as a place for entrepreneurs to float business ideas with each other.

In addition to the startup funds, Greear and Blevins were awarded legal services from McAfee Law Firm and free incubator space in the Norton Pioneer Center for up to a year. The $6,000 awarded to the students will cover first year expenses for operating Reach More Marketing including research and development for a social media platform. All participants of the competition will be connected to small business resources and mentors to assist with the business ideas.

Bryan Lewis with G2K Games, William Lewis with G2K Games, Julia McAfee with McAfee Law and Fred Ramey with the City of Norton were the judges for the competition.

ABOUT INNOVATION DAY

Sponsored by G2K Games and the Norton Industrial Development Authority, the G2K Game is a competitive process among students at UVa-Wise. As part of the competition, students submit and pitch an original technology based business idea to a panel of judges to compete for a cash prize, mentorship opportunity, and incubator space to bring their idea to reality.  The goal of the competition is to foster entrepreneurship and to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset at the college, giving students the opportunity to bring their ideas to fruition in Southwest Virginia. Over a two month period, students worked closely with UVa-Wise staff and faculty to refine their business concepts and pitches.

In addition to the G2K Games, four student teams gathered to play the Innovation Board Game, focused on creativity and entrepreneurship. After 45 minutes of answering questions related to entrepreneurship, one team, Javier Wagner, Francis Zakama, Maria Aparcero, and Louis Eliacin, walked away with the prize of $500. Student clubs and organizations were also invited to compete for a chance to win the prize for their club. Phi Lambda Phi, African Cultural Association, and Theta Phi Alpha competed for their organizations. Theta Phi Alpha won the second place award of $100 to towards their funding needs.