50 plans advance to semi-finals in 2017 Gov’s Biz Plan Contest


Fifty entries from 26 communities have advanced to the semi-final round of the 14th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, contest producers announced Monday.


The contestants were selected from a field of 172 qualified first-round entries by an independent panel of about 85 judges organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its programs, the Tech Council Innovation Network and the Tech Council Investor Networks.


The semi-finalists reflect the diversity of Wisconsin’s economy and are spread among four broad categories: advanced manufacturing (12), business services (13), information technology (12) and life sciences (13).


Battery technologies, safety equipment for firefighters, watercraft, drone applications, rapidly deployed housing ‘pods,’ wearable technology, ways to take organic material out of the waste stream and turning crickets into a food source are among the top 50.


Also among entries that advanced are software or information systems related to photo and image archiving, trucking, travel, human resources, physical training, supply chain management, business networking, bus passes and soil testing.


Also moving on to the next round were plans tied to medical breakthroughs, such as treating or diagnosing cardiac arrhythmia, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, heparin reactions, opiate addictions, strokes and a specific leukemia.


“Trends reflected in the top 50 entries match up well with Wisconsin’s traditional and emerging strengths,” said Toni Sikes, chairwoman of the Tech Council and co-founder of CODAworx. “Good ideas come from all high-growth sectors of the economy.”


The 50 entries competing in Phase 2 of the contest will write 1,000-word executive summaries. Each summary describes the core product or service, defines the customer base, estimates the size of the market, identifies competition, lists members of the management team and provides key financial data.


Once Phase 2 judging is complete in early April, the 50 entries may be made available for inspection by accredited investors through the Tech Council Investor Networks, which has about two-dozen angel networks, early stage funds or corporate strategic partners. About two-dozen plans will move on to Phase 3, in which contestants will write a full 15- to 20-page business plan.


The top dozen contestants will give live presentations at the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 6 at Union South in Madison. Category winners, as well as the 2017 Grand Prize Winner, will be announced during the BPC Awards Luncheon on June 7.


Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, marketing, web development, prototyping and more. About $2 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded since the inception of the contest. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is a major sponsor.


Additional lead sponsors of the 2017 contest thus far include @1403; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Co.; AT&T; Hudson Business Lounge; Michael Best; Midwest Prototyping; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; Quarles & Brady; University Research Park; and Whitewater University Technology Park. Associate sponsors include 100state; Murphy Desmond; and Smith & Gesteland. Additional sponsors are EZ Office Products; iCandy Graphics & Web Design; Irontek; Madison Gas & Electric; Marshfield Clinic; PowerBuy 4 You; SCORE Wisconsin; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.


Here are the 2017 semi-finalists in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.  Reporters wishing to contact individual contestants may do so through the Wisconsin Technology Council by calling 608-442-7557.


Submission Name First Name Last Name City
CTL Solutions, LLC Harini Aiyer Shorewood
Pixologie Mollie Bartelt Milwaukee
Cellular Logistics Inc Adam J Bock Sun Prairie
Travel Like a Local Angela Boerke Madison
Pivot Interactives SBC Peter Bohacek River Falls
MiPod USA Timothee Brzozowski Oshkosh
i65, LLC Melinda Caughill Mequon
Career [RE]Search Group Chris Czarnik Appleton
NexGen Gun Ranges Trevor Derksen South Milwaukee
Northern Star Fire LLC Jeff Dykes Eau Claire
Nano Red, LLC Johnathan Ebben Milwaukee
Forsythe & Storms Technologies, LLC Lorne Forsythe Oak Creek
Blue Line Battery Dustin Herte Hartford
TELECO SYSTEMS Henry Hile Mequon
SafeLi Carol Hirschmugl Shorewood
Sourcing USA Inc. Christopher Hoppe Milwaukee
accessAmerica Group, LLC Jeff Hunter Pleasant Prairie
Synesis, LLC Kenneth Iwinski Wisconsin Rapids
Pilot Training System Christopher Johnson Madison
Liquid Biopsy for Cancer Diagnosis Tonny Johnson Madison
Upper Room Technology Matthew Kee Green Bay
ThirdSpace Scott Kohl Madison
Plumb Pharmaceuticals Lisa Krugner-Higby Middleton
DotCom Therapy Correll Lashbrook Madison
VibeTech, Inc. Jeffrey Leismer Sheboygan
Health Connection Jordan Mather Appleton
Tundra Therapeutics Jeffrey Medin Milwaukee
Menet Aero, Inc. Peter Menet Milwaukee
Atrility Medical Randal Mills Madison
iMetx Kathy Monetti Madison
Pathogenomica Francisco Moya Madison
Eye Savers Jeff Mrochinski Waukesha
Fast Forward Forensics LLC Randy Nagy Madison
ReNeuroGen LLC Stephen Naylor Elm Grove
Mobile Bus Pass Nicole Nehls Madison
HIT Diagnostics Anand Padmanabhan Brookfield
Real Time Harvest Advisor Samuel Roa-Lauby Belleville
My Kids Ride, LLC Christopher Roy Pewaukee
Hovertoon, LLC. Richard Schramer Berlin
HealthTech Solutions, Inc. Dalton Shaull Chicago
SciArt, LLC Krishnan Suresh Middleton
Invive Nutrition Kyle Tamboli Germantown
Compost Crusader LLC Melissa Tashjian Milwaukee
Rapid Guard Flood Barrier System Jeff Thieding Loganville
Rigbot Shatru Thimmappa Middleton
abExponential Kyle Treige Madison
Curate Taralinda Willis Madison
EWPanel LLC Chunhua Yao Madison
Cardigan LLC Matt Younkle Madison
Gregor Diagnostics Tobias Zutz Madison




*Entries from outside the state are eligible if committed to locating some aspect of their business within Wisconsin.



Count ‘em down: Top 10 reasons to enter statewide Biz Plan Contest by Jan. 31

The entry deadline for the 14th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is 5 p.m. Jan. 31. Don’t miss an opportunity to share in more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. Get started at www.govsbizplancontest.com!

Click here to watch Tech Council president Tom Still and 2016 Life Sciences winner Chorom Pak of Lynx Biosciences discuss the Governor’s Business Plan Contest and the benefits of applying on ‘For the Record’ with Neil Heinen.

Here are 10 reasons you should enter your business idea:

  1. It’s free. Other than the cost of your time, there is no cost to enter the contest.
  1. You don’t have to be Tolstoy. The initial entry is only 250 words, spread among four criteria – product or service description, customer definition, market description and competition. That’s about 62 words per category.
  1. You don’t even need a stamp. The contest is online at govsbizplancontest.com.
  1. You can win valuable prizes. The contest will feature at least $100,000 in cash and service prizes such as office space in premier technology parks and top-notch commercial offices. Other prizes include a variety of services, such as legal assistance, accounting, video production, marketing and more. For many contestants, these services will provide an important jumpstart in getting their businesses rolling.
  1. You’ll get some free advice. Judges in the contest are experienced in their respective fields and often provide feedback to contestants. Volunteer mentors from SCORE and the Center for Technology Commercialization are available to answer questions throughout the contest. The 50 entries that advance to Phase 2 will be invited to a free “boot camp” to be held March 1 in Waukesha.
  1. You’ll meet other entrepreneurs like yourself. As much as it may sometimes seem like you’re alone, you’re not. There are other entrepreneurs like you – and they often have similar experiences to share. You will meet them at events, such as our boot camp and more.
  1. There’s a strong alumni club. An estimated three-quarters of contest finalists were still in business at last count, and those same finalists have raised at least $200 million in grants, angel capital and venture capital or debt over time.
  1. You might meet an investor. More than three-dozen angel and venture capitalists are among the contest judges, and they’re often keeping an eye out for up-and-coming companies in the contest.
  1. You might get a chance to talk about your idea live at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. The top 12 finalists will present in the contest’s annual “Diligent Dozen” showcase, held as a part of the conference on June 6-7 at Union South in Madison.
  1. What better way to move your good idea off the desk and closer to reality? There’s no better motivation than a deadline, so enter by 5 p.m. Jan. 31, 2017!



For the Record: Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest

Tech Council president Tom Still and 2016 Life Sciences category winner Chorom Pak of Lynx Biosciences discuss the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest. Click here to watch the full interview on For the Record with Neil Heinen.



Statewide business plan contest open online to vets, other entrepreneurs through Jan. 31

MADISON – At a time when more veterans are expressing interest in becoming entrepreneurs, the 14th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is accepting entries online for the 2017 competition until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.

In 2016, a Madison-area startup formed by a U.S. Air Force veteran placed first in the Information Technology category of the statewide contest. Nick Mastronardi, a former Air Force officer who also worked as a senior economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and for Amazon, launched POLCO as a civic engagement platform.

The contest is designed to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin. The contest links up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of community resources, expert advice and mentoring, management talent and possible sources of capital.

Over time, the contest has led to valuable public and media exposure for the top business plans and spurred economic growth in Wisconsin. Finalists will share in more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

For their initial entries, contestants will submit a 250-word (about 2,000 characters) idea abstract online at www.govsbizplancontest.com. That’s where contestants will also find business plan templates and other information, such as the Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit. The toolkit provides business startup information and assistance, networking contacts and technical resources.

Contestants who advance to subsequent contest rounds will expand their plan in stages. More than 70 judges drawn from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the entries and provide feedback on submissions.

To get started, contestants must create a free account at www.govsbizplancontest.comAll entries are submitted through the website. Contestants use their account to gain access to mentors throughout the process, as well as review the judges’ comments and feedback.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 3,350 entries have been received and about $2.2 million in cash and services (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing) have been awarded. Contest categories are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences.

Wisconsin residents 18 years old and older are eligible, as are teams from Wisconsin-based businesses and organizations. Businesses or teams from outside the state are also eligible to compete if they demonstrate intent to base their business in Wisconsin. Entrepreneurs may also enter multiple ideas, though each idea must be separate and distinct.

Companies or individuals that have raised less than $25,000 in private equity for their plans in a current form are eligible to enter. Generally speaking, private equity refers to angel and venture capital.



2017 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest Info Session on Jan. 25

Join us at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at Brocach Irish Pub in Madison to learn more about the 2017 Business Plan Contest.

Tom Still, Tech Council president, and Jonathan Fritz, Chief Strategy Officer of Symphony Corporation and 13-time contest judge, will offer an overview of the contest and the benefits of participating, as well as answer attendees’ questions.

6 p.m. – Networking
6:30 p.m. – Informational presentation
7 p.m. – Q & A

There is no charge to attend. Appetizers will be provided. Cash bar will be available. Click here to register. For more information on the contest, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com

Thanks to our event sponsor!