Guy A. Peduto
Aspiring entrepreneurs studying at West Virginia University’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics will benefit from a $50,000 scholarship established in memory of a late alumnus who dedicated his career to advancing business and innovation in West Virginia.
A 1978 graduate of the Chambers College, Guy A. Peduto worked with Mountain State businesses and entrepreneurs to provide professional support services and investment capital as the director of INNOVA Commercialization Group in Fairmont. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2021.
Upon his passing, numerous individuals, businesses and friends paid tribute to Peduto via a memorial fund set up by his family. His wife of 40 years, Donna Hoylman Peduto, contributed $25,000 in memorial contributions to the Guy A. Peduto Entrepreneurial Scholarship, which goes to students from West Virginia majoring or minoring in entrepreneurship.
“Our entrepreneurship programs are equipping future leaders with the skills they need to start their own businesses, launch new products, enter new markets and find creative solutions to the challenges they encounter along the way,” Ryan Angus, assistant professor of entrepreneurship and James Coffman Fellow in Entrepreneurial Studies, said. “Guy Peduto helped entrepreneurs develop those same skills, and we are grateful to his family and friends for their commitment to carry on his legacy by creating opportunities for Chambers College students.”
Peduto’s career of 40-plus years began in his native Pittsburgh, where he cultivated his marketing and business development skills in roles for General Nutrition Center, Thrift Drug and Blattner Bruner. Hoylman Peduto said her husband was thrilled to join INNOVA in 2006, because it allowed him to focus on his passion of nurturing new businesses full-time.
Prior to Peduto’s passing, INNOVA had worked with more than 500 companies and entrepreneurs seeking professional and/or financial assistance and placed over $2.5 million dollars of direct investments into more than 22 West Virginia companies.
Justin Whitman, founder and CEO of UMuseUs, connected with Peduto after reaching out to the local Small Business Development Center in Berkeley County for assistance with his social networking platform for musicians. Peduto quickly became a mentor, speaking with Whitman weekly to share his expertise, advice and resources.
“Guy Peduto’s influence, guidance and belief in the continued growth of tech startups in West Virginia is the sole reason why UMuseUs.com is even located in West Virginia,” Whitman said. “His passion for tech was infectious and truly captured my utmost respect. He was the epitome of being a champion for West Virginia.”
Hoylman Peduto said her husband’s positive attitude and generous spirit, both professionally and personally, are well known throughout the state. He devoted a great deal of time to his clients, keeping them motivated and believing in them when others may not. Business leaders in West Virginia and beyond have touted Peduto’s incredible impact on the business and entrepreneurial community in messages to his family.
“Guy always said he had the best job in the world,” Hoylman Peduto said. “He loved the people of West Virginia and their entrepreneurial spirit. He had such a keen instinct about recognizing their talents and needs. He noticed oftentimes these unique and bright people have fantastic ideas and are so creative, but they are not necessarily born with the business skills needed. He strived to help cultivate these skills, enabling the startups to become even more viable.”
Peduto further contributed to West Virginia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by serving on boards for businesses, economic groups and more. He was also a strong supporter of the Chambers College and its efforts to support entrepreneurs, including the Encova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Vantage Ventures, Bridging Innovation Week, and WV Statewide Business Plan Competitions for students in high school and college.
The Guy A. Peduto Entrepreneurial Scholarship evolved from an earlier scholarship established by late energy entrepreneur Don Hoylman, Peduto’s father-in-law, prior to his passing in July 2021. Hoylman Peduto said her father marked his 90th birthday by establishing scholarships for each family member who graduated from the Chambers College, including Peduto. Hoylman Peduto recently updated the original scholarship name and criteria to better align with her husband’s legacy.
“Our family’s intent is to provide a scholarship that helps students interested in startups and entrepreneurism fund their education,” Hoylman Peduto said. “Guy always wanted entrepreneurs to be free of the fear of failing. He wanted them to have every opportunity to realize their dreams. Guy knew that it is real-world experience that shapes an entrepreneur, and I think he was hoping the scholarship would help support more of this."
Hoylman Peduto’s scholarship gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University. Additional memorial contributions to the Guy A. Peduto Entrepreneurial Scholarship (3Z916) can be made online at secure.give.wvu.edu.