Despite the changes of going digital, Fairmont State University senior Emily Gersper earned third place at the West Virginia Collegiate Business Competition recently held in a virtual environment.
With the ongoing pandemic, the usual in-person pitch and presentation of the business plans was moved completely online. Gersper earned her place as a finalist in the state competition after the regional competition in February.
“I found the news of being online disappointing but quickly realized the situation surrounding the virus was getting worse and was grateful the competition would be able to continue at all,” she said. "I had to completely change my plans for the presentation and everyone in the competition was required to adapt to the current situation. My presentation took place in my living room through the Zoom meeting app as opposed to in front of a large audience in Charleston.”
With the second competition over, Gersper won a total of $2,500, $1,000 in the regional competition and $1,500 in the state competition. The money she has been awarded will go toward her business, West Virginia Storybook weddings, a one-stop wedding shop for every product and service related to weddings.
“The great part about my business idea is that I do not have to start it with a large amount of money. I can become a part of the industry with minimal financial investment,” she said. “It’s my plan to start my business in a smaller form to introduce myself into the market.”
Ranging from wedding dresses to planning services and accessories to vendors, all services she wants to provide are from local vendors or those as local as possible. One goal of her business is to help improve the capabilities of the small-town entrepreneurs we are blessed with in our communities.
"My mentor through the competition, Jim Davis, who is my advisor here in the business school, has provided me with such great support. I’d also like to thank all of my professors who have taught me everything that I have used to make my final business plan,” she said. "I would also like to say that while I was in this competition I was also a student athlete. I was competing in my senior year on the women’s swim team throughout the entire process of this competition. I would like to thank my team and coaches for showing me such great support in the pool and during this competition."
Gersper encourages anyone to follow her business on Instagram at @wvstorybookwedding to see what she’ll be starting with.
For more information about the competition, you can visit www.businessplanwv.com.