Bluefield State College student Cheyanne Walker didn’t quite win the statewide final round of the West Virginia University Collegiate Business Plan Competition in early April. But she walked away with an even bigger prize. One of the competition’s judges. who is also CEO for a major Charleston-based business, offered to hire her to implement her day care business proposal for the company.
Walker, a senior Business major, competed against 14 other semifinalist teams, 10 of which were from WVU. Her presentation centered upon “Precious Possessions Day Care,” an innovative day care center that included pre-school, after school tutoring for in-school students, interactive web cams, weekend care and extended hours.
When winners were announced in each of three categories, Walker’s name wasn’t called.
“At that point I thought, ‘That’s OK. The experience was great,’” she said. “Then the emcee said, ‘The judges have asked if there can be two winners in a category.’ That’s when one judge exercised the option of funding the plan himself.”
BrickStreet CEO Greg Burton, told Walker, “I’ve been needing a daycare for employees. Cheyanne, if you are willing to come to Charleston, I’ll fund the plan for you.”
“At that moment, I was overwhelmed ... shocked,” Walker said. “Until the business plan competition, I really didn’t have plans set in stone for what I would do after graduation. Now a door has opened, and I feel led to go through it.”
Dr. Peggy Johnson, dean of the W. Paul Cole, Jr. School of Business at BSC, said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for Walker.
“Cheyanne is not only an excellent student, but is also an excellent person. Her future is very bright,” Johnson added.
Walker credits the Cole School of Business faculty, particularly Professor Geoff Hunter for preparing her well for the competition.
“Some really well known speakers discussed what’s involved in small business,” Walker said. “I had already learned most of what they talked about from my School of Business classes. Professor Hunter’s classes — concepts of a business plan, small business management, and entrepreneurship — had prepared me well.”
Hunter said Walker’s success is a tribute to her hard work.
“It also underscores the ‘real world’ relevance of the instruction our students receive from our faculty,” he added.