Nearly 300 entries received for this year’s Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest

February 6, 2014

MADISON – Entrepreneurs from 87 communities across Wisconsin submitted 292 entries in the 11th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, contest organizers announced Thursday.

Those entries included 98 in the contest’s business services category, 87 in information technology, 57 in advanced manufacturing and 50 in life sciences. The entries represent 283 individuals and include entries from 13 communities that had not previously participated in the contest.

Judging in the first round of the contest begins this week. More than 85 judges have volunteered to participate this year, a record number that includes judges with collective experience in launching companies, vetting technologies, investing in startups and providing services to emerging companies. About 50 plans will move to the contest’s second round in late February.

“Wisconsin entrepreneurs have once again demonstrated they have strong ideas and a willingness to undertake the hard work of transforming those ideas into businesses,” said Toni Sikes, chairwoman of the Wisconsin Technology Council. The Tech Council produces the annual contest.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 2,900 entries have been received from nearly 2,500 individuals in 293 different Wisconsin communities. About $1.7 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded through 2013.

As with past years, the contest will be conducted in phases culminating with live presentations at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison, June 3-4. A “boot camp” for contest semi-finalists will be held in Waukesha in early March.

“The response to this year’s contest demonstrates that entrepreneurs with good ideas can be found in all corners of Wisconsin,” said Tom Still, president of the Tech Council.

Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, information technology consulting, marketing and more. A major sponsor is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. The UW-Extension’s Center for Technology Commercialization and the Service Corps of Retired Professionals, or SCORE, will assist with mentoring throughout the contest.

Additional sponsors of the 2014 contest thus far include: 100state; 5Nines; Aberdean Consulting; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Company; AT&T; BDO; Cleantech Open; Cresa Madison; Exact Sciences; Kollath & Associates; Madison Gas & Electric; Makin’ HEY Communications; Marshfield Clinic Applied Sciences; Michael Best & Friedrich; Mortenson Construction; Murphy Desmond; Pieper Properties; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media; Smith & Gesteland; Tweedee Productions; University Research Park; and UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations.

To become a sponsor or to learn more about the contest, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com or contact Joy Sawatzki at 608-442-7557.

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