Businesswoman Liz Elam has built her career on the tenet that working one’s way up from the bottom instills tenacity, creates resilience and develops excellence. That belief, blended with an innovative spirit and a competitive yet collaborative drive, has propelled her to the forefront of the “coworking” movement.IntellectualCapitol_logo

Just what is coworking? It’s a style of work that involves a shared working environment, like an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. This system also builds a working community.

West Liberty University’s Gary E. West College of Business and its Center for Entrepreneurship is planning its third Pitch Contest with Liz Elam as its speaker from 5:30 – 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 26 at its downtown location, the Intellectual Capitol, 1413 Eoff Street.

Elam will speak at 5:30 p.m. and the pitch contest featuring local entrepreneurs will get started at 6:30 p.m. The winner of the contest will be announced at 7:30 p.m.

Elam will inspire entrepreneurs and offer an interesting take on how Wheeling can improve use of its empty buildings. Elam began her career answering phones at Dell just after college and quickly was promoted into sales, Elam spent 14 years managing multimillion dollar accounts and then began work in entrepreneurship by founding Link Coworking in Austin, Texas.

Since opening its doors in 2010, the company has become a hub for Austin’s innovators, giving them an ideal place to create and connect. She has become a prominent voice in the coworking movement, hosting the annual Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) for three years running and bringing together key influencers in coworking from all over the globe.

“We can’t wait to hear what Liz has to say about downtown reuse of buildings and coworking. Plus this is our third pitch contest and we are anxious to see the new business proposals and ideas. We have six to seven pitchers each time and the winner gets $5,000 to start their own project,” said Dr. Carrie White, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Several successful businesses have come out of previous WLU pitch contests including September winners Vishesh Maskey with Spatial Decision Support System and Tyler Jones with Fajita by the Foot. Another successful business launch was Mason Dixon BBQ Co., founded by WLU student Patrick Fisher.

Though he wasn’t an official winner, Fisher claims that the facts and feedback he learned from the last Pitch Contest helped him get started in business and he now has a successful catering and food stand business in Moundsville, with a Facebook presence.

West Liberty University’s new Intellectual Capitol business incubator, located in the historic First State Capitol Building, opened in August 2013 and offers an historic, attractive setting for the contests.

It is the first downtown Wheeling business incubator and is the result of a partnership between West Liberty University (WLU) and Wheeling Academy of Law and Science (WALS). Its mission is to incubate WLU graduates and mentor them with their business goals, ultimately launching them into self-sustaining local businesses.

It is also an example of creative coworking.

Sponsors include West Liberty University’s Gary E. West College of Business and Center for Entrepreneurship, the Regional Economic Development Partnership and Vision Shared, Huntington, W.Va.

Entrepreneurs interested in pitching ideas or seeking more information should contact White at 304-336-8159 or at [email protected].