State Journal: Local entries continue strong in business plan contest

Twenty-three of 53 entries that have advanced to the semifinal round of the 13th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest are from Madison or Middleton.

The contestants were selected from 206 first-round entries by a panel of about 100 judges organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council, the Wisconsin Innovation Network and the Wisconsin Angel Network.

The semifinalists are spread among four categories: advanced manufacturing (14), business services (12), information technology (13) and life sciences (14). Read the full Wisconsin State Journal story here.

Lake Country Now: Big Bend company advances in state business plan contest

Essential Biotechnology LLC of Big Bend is among the 53 entries from 23 communities that have advanced to the semifinal round of the 13th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

The contestants were selected from a field of 206 first-round entries by an independent panel of about 100 judges organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council. Read the full Lake Country Now story here.

Fifty-three entries advance to next round in 2016 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest

MADISON – Fifty-three entries from 23 communities have advanced to the semi-final round of the 13th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, contest producers announced Monday.

The contestants were selected from a field of 206 qualified first-round entries by an independent panel of about 100 judges organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its programs, the Wisconsin Innovation Network and the Wisconsin Angel Network.

The semi-finalists reflect the diversity of Wisconsin’s economy and are spread among four broad categories: advanced manufacturing (14), business services (12), information technology (13) and life sciences (14).

Water technologies, health information technologies, software solutions, agriculture, products and processes for manufacturing, and medical devices and treatments were sectors that drew a number of entries. The contest also attracted entries focused on innovations in fishing, fitness and music.

“Trends reflected in the top 53 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 53 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 53 entries may be made available for inspection by accredited investors through the Wisconsin Angel Network, 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 7 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Category winners, as well as the 2016 Grand Prize Winner, will be announced during the BPC Awards Luncheon on June 8.

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 2016 contest thus far include American Family Insurance; American Transmission Co.; Ascendancy Advisors; AT&T; Pieper Properties; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE Wisconsin; University Research Park; and Whitewater University Technology Park. Associate sponsors include 100state; Cresa Madison; Kollath CPA; Makin’ HEY Communications; Midwest Prototyping; Murphy Desmond; Neider & Boucher; and Smith & Gesteland. Additional sponsors are Aberdean Consulting; BizStarts; EZ Office Supplies; Fine Point Consulting; Madison Gas & Electric; PowerBuy 4 You; Red Arrow Production; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Here are the 2016 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 First Name Last Name City
Advanced Braille Reader Grant Anderson Random Lake
Pixologie Inc. Mollie Bartelt Milwaukee
Gain Sight Inc. Joseph Blustein Madison
Responsive Writing Solutions Dave Clark Shorewood
Angio360 Diagnostics LLC Stephanie Cossette Wauwatosa
SeqOpt Edward Diehl Racine
Innovative Process to Upcycle Nitrogen from Wastewater Narimah Ehr Madison
Loreto Innovation Que El-Amin Milwaukee
Asto CT David Ergun Madison
Forsythe & Storms Technologies Lorne Forsythe Oak Creek
Export Abroad Austin Grandt Madison
Raydion Joseph Grudzinski Madison
Seiva Technologies Andrew Hampel Milwaukee
Skin Cancer Detector Nick Hoppe Madison
Hyde Pat Hughes Elm Grove
Essential Biotechnology LLC Michael James Big Bend
The Farm Vet App Abigail Jensen Delavan
Rapid Blood Test for Cancer Diagnosis Tonny Johnson Madison
The Writer Prep Kreigh Knerr Delafield
Candid Brilliance Music Jocelyn Kopac Elkhorn
Energy Balance Joe Kremer Madison
Complete Phytochemical Solutions LLC Christian Krueger Cambridge
Comfort Care for Animals LLC Lisa Krugner-Higby Middleton
Emonix Zachary LaVallee Madison
Radiopathomix: Noninvasive Prostate Cancer Staging Peter LaViolette Milwaukee
GoFarm Carl Lippert Pittsville
Beyond Measure LLC Ron Litsheim Appleton
WeightUp Solutions Daniel Litvak Madison
POLCO Nick Mastronardi Madison
Grazin Daniel Means Madison
AIM: Architecture Information Modeling Amin Mojtahedi Milwaukee
Fast Forward Forensics LLC Randy Nagy Madison
Guard Llama Cara Narkun Chicago, Ill.*
Labnostic Matt Nelson Madison
Foodexus LLC Ada C. Nielsen River Hills
Lynx Biosciences Chorom Pak Madison
Classmunity Alana Platt Whitefish Bay
OptikTechnik Jose Ramirez Milwaukee
Mikroflot Technologies Jose Ramirez Milwaukee
ActiveEDU LLC Jordan Rhodes Oshkosh
Iconac Harrison Richarz Milwaukee
Riemer Systems Dave Riemer Whitewater
Remex Static Mixer Eric Ronning Madison
Doobert.com Chris Roy Pewaukee
ThermoSphere Austen Scudder Milwaukee
Phosphorus Upcycling from Anaerobic Digesters Menachem Tabanpour Madison
Compost Crusader LLC Melissa Tashjian Milwaukee
23VIVI QuHarrison Terry Madison
Metrecycle Luke VandenLangenberg Madison
AmebaGone Inc. Cheryl Vickroy Madison
Linectra Brandon Walker Madison
My Snow Hero Chad Wilke Middleton
Waggledance Inc. David Zethmayr Mauston

*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 13th 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!

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 2 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.
  2. 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 about $200 million in grants, angel capital and venture capital or debt over time.
  1. You might meet an investor. About 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 7-8 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, 2016!

Record number of judges, investors to screen entries for Business Plan Contest

MADISON – More than 90 judges have volunteered to judge entries and provide feedback in the 2016 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. About 40 percent of the judging list includes individuals from some of the Upper Midwest’s most active investment groups, including Wisconsin Investment Partners, Golden Angels Investors, American Family Ventures, BrightStar Wisconsin, Capital Midwest, 4490 Ventures, HealthX Ventures, Venture Management, Inventure Capital, Angels on the Water, Wisconsin River Business Angels, Wisconsin Super Angels Fund, Northwoods Angels, Stateline Angels, NEW Capital Management, Symphony Corp. and Vue Ventures.

Contestants have until 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, 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. Many of Wisconsin’s major research institutions – the UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, the Milwaukee School of Engineering and the Medical College of Wisconsin – are represented, as well as Edgewood College, Madison College, Marian University and UW System campuses around the state.

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 13th 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 3,100 entries have been received from 300 communities across Wisconsin. Finalists have shared in $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. Additional sponsors to date include Aberdean; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Co.; AT&T; Madison Gas & Electric; PowerBuy 4 You; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE; Smith & Gesteland; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

To enter or become a sponsor, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com.