Week remains to enter 2018 Biz Plan Contest

The deadline to enter the 2018 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, at www.govsbizplancontest.com. It’s a chance to win cash and other valuable in-kind prizes while building ideas into companies.

The contest is designed to help entrepreneurs write business plans, prepare them to launch a company, get feedback from mentors and to interact with investors and other professionals. Past finalists have created companies that have attracted more than $200 million in grants, loans and private equity financing – all while creating jobs and value for Wisconsin.

For their initial entries, contestants will submit 250-word idea abstracts online at www.govsbizplancontest.com.  Contestants who advance to subsequent contest rounds will have the opportunity to expand their plan in stages. More than 110 judges drawn from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the entries and provide feedback on submissions.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 3,500 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 or expand 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.

As with past contests, the 2018 competition will take place in stages and culminate at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, June 5-6 at Union South.

To enter, become a judge or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com.

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Space, services among prizes in 15th annual BPC

Entrants in the 2018 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest will once again compete for more than cash this year. The entry deadline for the 15th annual contest is 5 p.m. Jan. 31 at www.govsbizplancontest.com.

Wisconsin companies have stepped up to offer a variety of service prizes, such as legal assistance, accounting, video production, marketing, design and more. For many contestants, these services will provide an important jumpstart in getting their businesses rolling.

Among the prizes will be office space suitable for startup companies. The following companies have pledged to provide free space to a finalist or finalists in the contest, which will culminate in June at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference.

  • University Research Park in Madison will provide a suite for one company for one year.
  • Industrious Madison will provide office space on the Capitol Square for one finalist for three months.
  • Irontek in Beloit will provide a 12-month membership to one finalist.
  • @1403 in Madison will provide office space for one finalist for one year.
  • Ward4 in Milwaukee will provide two 12-month memberships to two finalists.

Additional cash and in-kind prizes have been pledged by the following companies to date: American Family Insurance; American Transmission Company; Applied Management (accounting services); AT&T; BloodCenter of Wisconsin; DXC Technology; Eppstein Uhen Architects (office design); Madison Gas & Electric; Marshfield Clinic Health System; Michael Best (legal services); Midwest Prototyping (product prototype); Murphy Desmond (legal services); Quarles & Brady (legal services); Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. (legal services); SCORE Wisconsin (mentorship classes); Smith & Gesteland (accounting services); State of Wisconsin Investment Board; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; Wisconsin Technical College System; and ZEBRADOG (visual brand package).

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has been a lead sponsor since the contest’s inception.

The 2018 contest is accepting entries online at www.govsbizplancontest.com until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31. The contest is designed to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into business plans, prepare them to launch a company, get feedback from judges, and to interact with investors and other professionals.

About $2.2 million in cash and other prizes were awarded and more than 3,500 entries from more than 300 different communities across the state were received. Winners of other selected business plan and “pitch” contests in Wisconsin will have an opportunity to segue into the BPC in a later round.

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 or expand 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. Private equity generally refers to angel and venture capital.

As with past contests, the 2018 competition will take place in stages:

  • In Phase 1, which is open until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, the contest will accept idea abstracts on the website. Entries should be roughly 250 words (or no more than 2,000 characters, including spaces) and will be graded by the pool of BPC judges. The top 50 idea abstracts will advance to Phase 2.
  • In Phase 2, which runs from Feb. 19 to 5 p.m. March 12, 2018, the top 50 idea abstracts will submit an executive summary. The top 20 executive summaries will advance to Phase 3. A mentored “boot camp” for contestants will be held in early March.
  • In Phase 3, which runs from April 2 to 5 p.m. April 23, 2018, the top 20 executive summaries will prepare full business plans. Judges will review the plans and pick three finalists from each of the four categories to advance to the final presentation round. Mentored practice sessions will be offered to the top 12 in late May.
  • The top 12, or “Diligent Dozen,” will square off with oral presentations during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 5 at Union South in Madison.

To enter the contest or learn more about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com or contact contest administrators at info@govsbizplancontest.com.

Record number of judges, investors to screen entries for 2018 Governor’s Business Plan Contest

More than 110 judges have volunteered to judge entries and provide feedback in the 2018 Governor’s Business Plan Contest, a record number that includes a cross-section of disciplines that help define Wisconsin’s startup culture.

This year’s judging pool will also feature the strongest representation from early stage investors since the contest’s inception. The list includes more than two-dozen investors from some of the Upper Midwest’s most active groups, such as: Wisconsin Investment Partners, Golden Angels Investors, Capital Midwest, HealthX Ventures, Venture Management, Inventure Capital, Angels on the Water, Chippewa Valley Angel Network, N29 Capital Partners, Bascom Ventures, Pritzker Group, Hyde Park Angels, Madison Development Corp., Idea Fund of La Crosse, Baird Capital, Symphony Corp. and Brown Bridge Capital.

Contestants have until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, to enter their 250-word business ideas at www.govsbizplancontest.com.

Other major categories of judges include veteran entrepreneurs; advisors from accelerators and incubators; executives in larger businesses that often do business with startups and emerging companies; professionals from financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions; and experienced service providers working in the trenches with startups on a daily basis.

The list also includes judges with a background in higher education or research and development, often serving as direct points of contact for entrepreneurial programs on their respective campuses.

Judges provide feedback to contestants throughout the contest’s four phases. A separate group of contest mentors includes experts from the UW-Extension’s Center for Technology Commercialization and SCORE. Mentors are available for questions from contestants throughout the contest.

“This talented cross-section of judges and mentors allows for a thorough review of contest entries – as well as valuable feedback to contestants from people who know their way around technology, investing and business,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. The Tech Council is producing the 15th annual contest.

Designed to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-bases businesses in Wisconsin, the contest leads to valuable public and media exposure for the top business plans and helps spur economic growth in the state. Once again, finalists will share in more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

Since the contest’s inception in 2004, more than 3,500 entries have been received from 300 communities across Wisconsin. Finalists have shared in more than $2 million in cash and service prizes (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing).

Past finalists have launched companies that have raised $200 million in grants, loans and private equity financing – all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin.

The contest’s major sponsor is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

Wisconsin student entries welcome by Jan. 31 for 2018 Governor’s Business Plan Contest

 

Looking for a self-directed project this semester that can lead to prizes, mentoring and live connections to the business world? The 15th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest will accept entries online for the 2018 competition until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31.

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

It also leads to valuable public and media exposure for the top business plans and helps spur economic growth in the state. Two winning BPC plans from recent graduates have gone on to appear of ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank,” including Hyde Sportswear. That episode will air 8 p.m. Jan. 21.

Finalists will share in more than $100,000 in cash and service prizes. There is no cost to enter.

For their initial entries, contestants will submit a 250-word (or 2,000-character) 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 will need to create a simple account at www.govsbizplancontest.com.  All 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 3,500 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.

As with past contests, the 2018 competition will take place in stages:

  • In Phase 1, which is open until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, the contest will accept idea abstracts on the website. Entries should be roughly 250 words (or no more than 2,000 characters, including spaces) and will be graded by the pool of BPC judges. The top 50 idea abstracts will advance to Phase 2.
  • In Phase 2, which runs from Feb. 19 to 5 p.m. March 12, 2018, the top 50 idea abstracts will submit an executive summary. The top 20 executive summaries will advance to Phase 3. A mentored “boot camp” for contestants will be held in early March.
  • In Phase 3, which runs from April 2 to 5 p.m. April 23, 2018, the top 20 executive summaries will prepare full business plans. Judges will review the plans and pick three finalists from each of the four categories to advance to the final presentation round. Mentored practice sessions will be offered to the top 12 in late May.
  • The top 12, or “Diligent Dozen,” will square off with oral presentations during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 5 at Union South in Madison.

Past finalists have launched companies that have raised more than $200 million in angel, venture, grants and venture debt over time – all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin. The contest’s major sponsors include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The 2017 grand prize winner was Northern Star Fire, an Eau Claire startup company whose device is an eight-directional compass that firefighters place inside their breathing apparatus and helps maintain and/or regain their orientation in low visibility conditions. Category winners in 2017 were Northern Star Fire (Advanced Manufacturing), Compost Crusader (Business Services), DotCom Therapy (Information Technology), and Nano Red (Life Sciences).

Produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council, the contest’s major sponsor is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. To enter, become a judge or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com.

Experienced mentors on call for Biz Plan Contest entrants

Experienced mentors from across Wisconsin will be available to offer advice to contestants during the 15th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Initial entries of 250 words are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. There is no cost to enter. Visit www.govsbizplancontest.com for more information and to get started.

At any point during the competition, contestants may submit their questions to veteran business mentors who have volunteered their time and expertise to assist entrepreneurs who enter by Jan. 31. Mentors will respond directly to contestants to offer one-on-one consultation.

This year’s group of volunteers includes representatives from SCORE Wisconsin and the Center for Technology Commercialization, which has federal, state and university ties.

SCORE offers free business consulting, business mentoring and business resources, plus low-cost business trainings. The CTC provides support and resources as companies bring their innovations to market, particularly with applications for grants from the federal Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

As another resource, SCORE will offer free access to many fee-based training classes around the state to all 2018 contestants.

In addition to access to mentors, contestants will receive feedback from scores of judges as the contest progresses.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 3,520 entries have been received and about $2.2 million in cash and in-kind services have been awarded. Contest categories are advanced manufacturing, business services, information technology and life sciences. Past finalists have launched companies that have raised $200 million in angel, venture, grants and venture debt over time – all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin.

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.

As with past contests, the 2018 competition will take place in stages:

  • In Phase 1, which is open until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, the contest will accept idea abstracts on the website. Entries should be roughly 250 words (or no more than 2,000 characters, including spaces) and will be graded by the pool of BPC judges. The top 50 idea abstracts will advance to Phase 2.
  • In Phase 2, which runs from Feb. 19 to 5 p.m. March 12, 2018, the top 50 idea abstracts will submit an executive summary. The top 20 executive summaries will advance to Phase 3. A mentored “boot camp” for contestants will be held in early March.
  • In Phase 3, which runs from April 2 to 5 p.m. April 23, 2018, the top 20 executive summaries will prepare full business plans. Judges will review the plans and pick three finalists from each of the four categories to advance to the final presentation round. Mentored practice sessions will be offered to the top 12 in late May.
  • The top 12, or “Diligent Dozen,” will square off with oral presentations during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 5 at Union South in Madison.

Past finalists have launched companies that have raised more than $200 million in angel, venture, grants and venture debt over time – all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin. The contest’s major sponsors include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The 2017 grand prize winner was Northern Star Fire, an Eau Claire startup company whose device is an eight-directional compass that firefighters place inside their breathing apparatus and helps maintain and/or regain their orientation in low visibility conditions. Category winners in 2017 were Northern Star Fire (Advanced Manufacturing), Compost Crusader (Business Services), DotCom Therapy (Information Technology), and Nano Red (Life Sciences).

To enter, become a judge or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com.

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