Military vets may enter statewide Biz Plan Contest

MADISON – At a time when more veterans are expressing interest in becoming entrepreneurs, the 15th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is accepting entries online for the 2018 competition until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018.

In 2016, for example, 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, 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.

Two workshops are scheduled for people who would like to learn more about entering:

  • Jan. 11 at the Tech Council Innovation Network meeting at the UW-Milwaukee Accelerator in Wauwatosa. Click here to register.
  • Jan. 17 at the Industrious co-working space, 25 W. Main St., Madison. Click here to register.

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 3,500 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 may enter.

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. It is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council.

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

Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest open for 2018 entries through Jan. 31, 2018

The 15th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is accepting entries online for the 2018 competition until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018.

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 simple 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 3,520 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:

  • 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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2018 BPC Info Session (Appleton)

Join us at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at D.J. Bordini Center in Appleton to learn more about the 2018 Business Plan Contest. Click here to register.

WALK-INS ARE WELCOME! 

Tom Still, Tech Council president, and Paul Jones, Michael Best/Ventures on the Water, will offer an overview of the contest and the benefits of participating, as well as answer attendees’ questions.

2 p.m. – Networking
2:30 p.m. – Informational presentation
3 p.m. – Q & A

There is no charge to attend. For more information on the contest, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com

An eight-directional compass from Eau Claire wins 2017 Governor’s Business Plan Contest

An Eau Claire startup that developed a product to maintain or regain a firefighter’s orientation during a fire took home the grand prize in the 14th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Jeff Dykes, a firefighter captain, has patents pending in five countries for “Northern Star Fire,” an eight-directional electronic compass that firefighters place inside their breathing apparatus to help find their way inside burning structures. The small compass, which Dykes displayed while presenting Tuesday at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, is designed to help firefighters safely navigate in smoke-filled buildings.

“Jeff Dykes’ passionate presentation and well-written plan will help Northern Star Fire solve a problem while building a business,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the contest.

Northern Star Fire presented along with 12 other finalists; winners were announced Wednesday. Northern Star Fire won the contest’s Advanced Manufacturing category. Other category winners were:

Business Services: Compost Crusader, Milwaukee, provides a cost-effective pick-up service to organizations and municipalities that want to divert organic material from the landfill. Presenter: Melissa Tashjian, Milwaukee.

Information Technology: DotCom Therapy, Madison, connects students and patients to a certified speech-language pathologist through an online platform which lowers costs and is more convenient for users. Presenter: Emily Purdom, Madison and Springfield, Mo.

Life Sciences: Nano Red, Milwaukee, is developing a platform capable of delivering potent immune-activators directly to the tumors and sparing healthy tissue. It can be adapted to carry the most currently approved cancer drugs that are more effective and less toxic. Presenter: Johnathan Ebben, Milwaukee.

Thirteen contestants emerged from three rounds of judging in the contest organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the contest in conjunction with its partners and sponsors. The contest began in late January with more than 170 entries; more than 3,350 entries have been received since the contest began in 2004.

This year’s finalists delivered seven-minute pitches on their business ideas during the 15th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, which was held at Madison’s Alliant Energy Center. Second- and third-place category winners were:

Advanced Manufacturing: VibeTech, Jeffrey Leismer, Sheboygan; EWPanel, Chunhua Yao, Madison.
Business Services: Health Connection, Jordan Mather, Appleton; ThirdSpace, Scott Kohl, Milwaukee and Pixologie, Ann Matuszak, Milwaukee (tie.)
Information Technology: Cardigan, Matt Younkle, Madison; i65, Melinda Caughill, Mequon.
Life Sciences: Synesis, Kenneth Iwinski, Wisconsin Rapids; Cellular Logistics, Rick Soni, Sun Prairie.

Finalists submitted full business plans for review by a panel of more than 85 judges established by the Tech Council, which is the non-profit and non-partisan science and technology adviser to the governor and the Legislature. Each plan described the core product or service, defined the customer base, estimated the size of the market, identified competition, described the management team and provided key financial data.

Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, information technology consulting, marketing, prototyping, web design, event space and more. About $2.2 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded since the inception of the contest in 2004.

Lead sponsors of the 2017 contest thus far include @14033Rhino MediaAmerican Family InsuranceAmerican Transmission Co.AT&THudson Business LoungeKeane Consulting/Workspace at Bishops WoodsMichael BestMidwest PrototypingPieper PropertiesQuarles & BradyRacine Metal-FabReinhart Boerner Van DeurenSCORE WisconsinUniversity Research ParkWard 4Whitewater University Technology ParkWisconsin Economic Development Corp.

Associate sponsors include 100stateAberdean Consulting; Applied Management; Cresa MadisonKinetic Compliance SolutionsMakin’ HEY!Murphy DesmondSmith & Gesteland and Wisconsin Public Radio. Additional sponsors are; AlphaCore Solutions;EZ Office ProductsiCandy Graphics & Web DesignIdea Fund of La CrosseIrontekKollath CPAMadison Gas & ElectricMarshfield ClinicNeider & BoucherPowerBuy 4 YouState of Wisconsin Investment BoardUW-Madison Office of Corporate RelationsWisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; and the Wisconsin Technical College System.

To learn more about the contest, visit govsbizplancontest.com.

‘Diligent Dozen’ selected to present live June 6 at Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference

MADISON – Finalists representing diverse tech-based sectors in Wisconsin’s startup economy will present live to judges in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest during the 15th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison.

The 13 contestants (the total includes one tie) have emerged from three rounds of judging in the contest organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the contest in conjunction with its partners and sponsors. The contest began in late January with about 175 entries; about 3,525 entries have been received since the contest began in 2004.

This year’s finalists will deliver seven-minute pitches on their business ideas beginning 3:05 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, during the conference. Winners will be announced June 7 during a closing luncheon. To register for the conference at Madison’s Union South, visit www.WiTrepsConference.com.

Software and business service plans include a mobile application to enable physical therapists to create and send instructional videos to patients; software to provide unbiased Medicare enrollment guidance; cloud-based software to solve core business problems around organizational culture; and to remove compostable products.

Entries focused on social or educational innovations include platforms to save family photos and videos in one place for future generations; to exchange contact information for both business and social settings; and to conduct online speech therapy.

Manufacturing ideas include nanogenerators for sustainable energy generation from human body movement; an eight-directional compass that firefighters can use in low-visibility conditions; and an “active Ottoman” for muscle regeneration and pain relief.

Health-related plans include a line of medical foods that will improve quality of life for patients with a feeding tube; an infrared light that targets tumors and spares healthy tissue; and an injectable drug that regenerates and retains cell properties in cardiac cases.

Entries were submitted in four categories: Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences.

Finalists submitted full business plans for review by a panel of more than 85 judges. Each plan describes the core product or service, defines the customer base, estimates the size of the market, identifies competition, describes the management team and provides key financial data.

Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, information technology consulting, marketing, prototyping, web design, event space and more. About $2.2 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded since the inception of the contest in 2004.

Lead sponsors of the 2017 contest thus far include @1403; 3Rhino Media; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Co.; AT&T; Hudson Business Lounge; Keane Consulting/Workspace at Bishops Woods; Michael Best; Midwest Prototyping; Pieper Properties; Quarles & Brady; Racine Metal-Fab; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE Wisconsin; University Research Park; Ward 4; Whitewater University Technology Park; Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

Associate sponsors include 100state; Aberdean Consulting; Applied Management; Cresa Madison; Kinetic Compliance Solutions; Makin’ HEY!; Murphy Desmond; Smith & Gesteland and Wisconsin Public Radio. Additional sponsors are; AlphaCore Solutions;EZ Office Products; iCandy Graphics & Web Design; Idea Fund of La Crosse; Irontek; Kollath CPA; Madison Gas & Electric; Marshfield Clinic; Neider & Boucher; PowerBuy 4 You; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; and the Wisconsin Technical College System. To become a sponsor, contact Tammy Ehrmann at 608-442-7557.

The 2017 “Diligent Dozen” are listed below. 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
Cardigan Matt Younkle Madison
Cellular Logistics Adam Bock Sun Prairie
Compost Crusader Melissa Tashjian Milwaukee
DotCom Therapy Correll Lashbrook Madison
EWPanel Chunhua Yao Madison
Health Connection Jordan Mather Appleton
i65 Melinda Caughill Mequon
Nano Red Johnathan Ebben Milwaukee
Northern Star Fire Jeff Dykes Eau Claire
Pixologie Mollie Bartelt Milwaukee
Synesis Kenneth Iwinski Wisconsin Rapids
ThirdSpace Scott Kohl Madison
VibeTech Jeffrey Leismer Sheboygan