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Natural Resources and Agriculture Business Pioneer Competition

Attention High School Teachers & Students

Photo of student standing at a podium presenting in front of a screen with the words "Natural Resources and Agriculture Business Pioneer Competition" overlayed on top. The Flying "WV" and "Extension" written in bottom left corner

High school students are invited to compete in the Natural Resources and Agriculture Business Pioneer Competition. This exciting competition is designed to engage talented youths in our community, state and beyond. By participating in this competition, young people will have the opportunity to jump-start their own businesses or develop essential skills for their future roles with potential employers.

Over a six-week period from October to December, participants will engage in a series of virtual synchronous sessions on business planning and risk management. These sessions will equip them with valuable training to support their respective business ventures.

To enrich the participants’ learning experience, industry experts will be invited to share their insights and best practices on a weekly basis. These experts will guide participants in adopting a “big-picture approach” to starting a small business.

The top ten teams will successfully advance to the final stage: a pitch presentation at the Annual Small Farm Conference in February. This stage will give students the opportunity to present their Lean Canvas to professionals. These professionals will evaluate the student’s business plan and their communication skills, poise, and professionalism in pitching their plan. The judges will then choose the best overall business plan. These awardees will receive certificates and monetary prizes towards starting their businesses.

Who Can Compete

West Virginia individuals or teams (up to four persons) who are in grades  9-12 in traditional, virtual or homeschool environments, or those who are attending career and technical centers.

Program Benefits and Outcomes

  • Empower talented youths to identify and solve pressing problems.
  • Foster in-demand skills, such as idea generation, creative thinking, leadership, communication, teamwork and entrepreneurship.
  • Provide comprehensive training on business planning and risk management.
  • Opportunity to compete for start-up funding.
  • Gain insights from industry experts on starting a successful small business.
  • Enhance public relations skills for effective pitching.
  • Showcase innovation and capabilities through a business pitch competition.
  • Network with industry leaders and potential partners at the Annual Small Farm Conference.

Competition Prizes

  • 1 st Place - $3,000
  • 2 nd Place - $2,000
  • 3 rd Place - $1,000

Additionally: Each of the 10 finalist teams will receive $400 to support room and board for the Final Pitch Competition and to attend the West Virginia Small Farm Conference.

How to Get Started

  • Form a Team. (1-4 Members)
  • Choose a Team Name.
  • Brainstorm a Preliminary Topic for your Business. (This topic can grow and change as you move through the program.)
  • Elect a Team Leader. (This is needed for registration.)
  • Enlist a Supervising Adult (teacher, agent, advisor, etc.) and receive their permission to register. Their role will be to mentor you in the business plan process, if needed, and to provide a second point of contact.
  • Film a brief Video (~ 60 seconds) introducing your Team. (Team Name, Team Members, and Preliminary Business Idea)
    • Film in Landscape (Horizontal) Orientation!  **VIDEO TIP!**
  • Register your Team via the link below in ZSuite. (All Team members must submit a registration.)
  • Upload your Video to the Google Form. (Link provided at the completion of your ZSuite registration.)
  • Make plans to attend the virtual workshops every Monday beginning Oct. 23 and continuing through Dec. 4, 2023.

Registration Details

  • Registration includes two steps:
    • A Submitted ZSuite Registration
    • A Team Introduction Video
  • Each team member MUST submit a ZSuite Registration to participate. Maximum of four (4) members per team.
  • Team Name - All team members MUST have the same "Team Name" on each of their registrations.
  • Team Lead - Each team MUST select one (1) member to be the "Team Lead". The Team Lead will be responsible for communications between the Team and the Competition Directors. There cannot be more than one (1) Team Lead for each team.
  • Supervising Adult - All team members MUST have the same "Supervising Adult" on each of their registrations.
  • Team Video Introduction - Upload your team’s video via the Google Form link provided to your email once you submit your ZSuite Registration. Only one (1) video needs to be submitted per team.

Registration will be handled through the 4-H ZSuite Online System. You do not need to be a 4-H Member to participate in this competition. All interested West Virginia high school students in grades 9-12 are encouraged to register!

Registration for this competition has closed.

Program Contacts

Lisa Jones.

Lisa Jones

Program Coordinator – Small Farm Center

phone 304-293-2715

About Lisa Jones

Profile photo Dee Singh-Knights

Dee Singh-Knights

WVU Extension Specialist – Agricultural Economics

phone 304-293-7606

About Dee Singh-Knights