West Virginia University hosted the state’s inaugural high school business plan competition. Sierra Cook, a Glen Dale resident and a senior from John Marshall High School took first prize: a $10,000 college scholarship to be used at any of nine WV schools.
Cook says her interest in the mushrooms was sparked when she learned about their health benefits. She believes the niche-market business idea to grow and sell shitake and miyake mushrooms has a lot of potential to take off.
“Especially here because there isn’t another mushroom growing facility within 200 miles of Marshall County—especially organic mushrooms,” she says.
WVU reports that the competition was made possible by a five-year agreement between the College of Business and Economics and the West Virginia Department of Education and is funded through a collaborative effort of the Brickstreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. 37,000 juniors and seniors from 157 West Virginia high schools were invited to participate.
There were 108 entries, and Cook was chosen from 8 finalists.