Governor McAuliffe announces the Commonwealth’s first Business Plan Competition

economic-forecast-headerGovernor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Virginia will host a world class business plan competition during the spring and summer of 2015.

The business plan competition will be overseen by the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade and will focus exclusively on the strategic growth sectors of Agriculture, Bio-Life Sciences, Cybersecurity, Energy, and Social Entrepreneurism.

“Hosting this world-class business plan competition in Virginia is another step forward in our efforts to create a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe.  “It is through growth in these important sectors that we will see economic benefits in our rural communities and across the Commonwealth.  This competition is one piece of my administration’s efforts to systematically generate more startup enterprises in Virginia, especially in Virginia’s key growth sectors.”

“Entrepreneurism is a key economic development strategy for the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “Entrepreneurs create jobs, they generate wages for our residents, and they help our communities grow, prosper and raise their children.  It is important for us to be the best place in the country for people to both own and operate a business and to launch one.”

The Virginia competition will be one of the largest in the nation with $1 million in prizes for the winners.  The competition will begin in the spring of 2015 with finalists being announced in early summer.  All of the finalists will be partnered with mentors who will help them with their final in-person pitches to an independent panel of judges.  Mentors will continue to help the winners with strategy, access to venture funding and other necessary resources for their business.  All companies, both domestic and outside the U.S., that fall within the five categories above are eligible to apply.  Companies that intend to license technology or other intellectual property from universities or research labs operating in the Commonwealth of Virginia are especially encouraged to apply.  Winning companies must be willing to either locate or do business in Virginia or use intellectual property from one of Virginia’s universities or research labs.

More detailed information and rules regarding the business plan competition are available on the Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade’s website (


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