Guidelines & Eligibility
All intellectual property used in business ideas and/or plans must be owned or controlled by the BPC entrant. For purposes of the BPC, ‘controlled’ is defined as patented, patent-pending or licensed.
Individuals, teams or companies are eligible if they:
- Are Wisconsin residents 18 years old or older, and who have a business plan that employs or leverages technology. Examples of technology include an eCommerce platform, a mobile application, a life sciences innovation or an advanced manufacturing process or system.
- Are based in Wisconsin and/or plan to locate a business in Wisconsin.
- Have received less than $25,000 in private equity funding for an idea in its current form. For the purposes of this contest, private equity funding includes ONLY angel or venture funding. It does not include SBIR/STTR, bank loans, initial accelerator investment or funding from friends or family who are not angels or venture capitalists.
Can I enter more than one idea?
There is no upper limit to the number of unique ideas or plans a contestant may submit. For example, one contestant may submit an idea for a new paper pulping process to the Advanced Manufacturing category and an idea for new paper-making software to the Information Technology category. The same contestant may have more than one idea advance though the competition in one or more categories. Be careful, however: Multiple entries also mean divided time.
Contestants need to create a new account for each entry. Each account will require a different email address. If you do not have more than one email address and would like to submit multiple entries, please contact the contest administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I enter this year’s contest if I competed last year?
Past BPC participants are eligible to enter the contest again. Please note:
– Previous category winners are NOT eligible to compete with the same plan.
– Second and third place winners are eligible to compete with the same plan as long as they still meet the equity requirement.
- BPC judges, mentors and other resources will help you gain the basic skills necessary to create a business plan. You’ll also have many networking opportunities with mentors and potential angel investors, government resources and other advisors.
- The BPC is tailored to and targeted at entrepreneurs with limited independent business experience. Judges look for important factors such as innovation, relevant expertise, competitive advantage and market opportunity.
To get started, contestants will need to create a simple account. All entries are submitted directly through the website. Contestants use the account to gain access to mentors throughout the process, as well as review the judges’ comments and feedback.
Each entry must be submitted in one of four categories – Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology or Life Sciences.
The contest includes three written phases:
Phase 1 of the competition includes an IDEA ABSTRACT of your plan, business or idea. The entry should be roughly 250 words (or no more than 2,000 characters – including spaces). Your idea abstract will be broken down into four sections – Product or service description; customer definition; market description, size and sales strategy; and competition. You are required to write something under every section. Please note that each text box has a limit of 550 characters. Entries are judged by section on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the highest. The Top 50 idea abstracts will advance to the next phase of the competition.
Phase 2 includes an EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. The entry should be no more than 1,000 words (or no more than 8,000 characters – including spaces). Your executive summary will be broken down into eight sections – company overview; product or service description; customer definition; market description, size & sales strategy; competition; management team; financials; and capital needs. You are required to write something under every section. Please note that each text box has a limit of 1,100 characters. Entries are judged by section on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the highest. The Top 20 executive summaries will advance to the next phase of the competition.
Phase 3 of the competition includes a 15- to 20-page BUSINESS PLAN. The plans will include and expand upon the same eight categories used in Phase 2. Entries will be uploaded to the website as a pdf. The 15- to 20-page limit should include the cover page with all pertinent contact information for the contestant or lead contestant, as well as all charts, graphics and appendices. Each written page should be double-spaced, written in 12-point Times New Roman font with 1” margins. Please note submissions that are more than 20 pages will not be considered. Entries are judged by section on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the highest.
Based on judges’ final scores for Phase 3, three finalists will be chosen from each of the four categories (Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences).
The “Diligent Dozen” will square off with oral presentations during the 2016 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 6 at Union South in Madison. A Grand Prize winner will be chosen from among the category winners based on judges’ scoring of the oral presentations and Phase 3 written scores. All winners will be announced during the conference at the BPC Awards Luncheon on June 7.
For additional guidelines and sample entries, click on the “Contestants” page.