Fifty-four entries advance to next round in 2015 Governor’s Business Plan Contest

Fifty-four entries from 26 communities have advanced to the semi-final round of the 12th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, contest producers announced Tuesday.

The contestants were selected from a field of 238 qualified first-round entries by an independent panel of more than 80 judges organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its programs, the Wisconsin Innovation Network and the Wisconsin Angel Network. Read More

Top 10 reasons to enter the Biz Plan Contest; Jan. 31 is deadline to enter online

The entry deadline for the 12th 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.
  2. 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.
  3. You don’t even need a stamp. The contest is online at www.govsbizplancontest.com.
  4. You can win valuable prizes. The contest will feature cash and in-kind 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.
  5. 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 4 in Waukesha.
  6. 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 the boot camp and more.
  7. There’s a strong alumni club. The Wisconsin Technology Council recently surveyed the 136 finalists from the first eight years of the contest and learned 77 percent are still in business and 58 percent have raised financing for their companies.
  8.  You might meet an investor. 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.
  9. 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 2-3 in Madison.
  10. 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, 2015!

Diverse mix of judges to screen entries for 2015 Governor’s Biz Plan Contest

MADISON – About 80 judges have volunteered to judge entries in the 2015 Governor’s Business Plan Contest, a field that includes judges from a cross-section of disciplines that help define Wisconsin’s startup culture.

Contestants have until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, 2015, to enter their 250-word business ideas at www.govsbizplancontest.com. Read More

WISC-TV3’s ‘For the Record’ looks at 2015 Biz Plan Contest; reasons to enter

Neil Heinen, of WISC-TV3’s “For the Record,” talks with Tech Council President Tom Still and MobCraft Beer CEO Henry Schwartz about the upcoming 2015 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest. Schwartz was last year’s Advanced Manufacturing category winner. Watch the show here. For more information on the contest, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com.

Contestants have access to veteran mentors during 2015 Biz Plan Contest

MADISON – Experienced mentors from across Wisconsin will be available to offer advice to contestants during the 12th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Initial entries of 250 words are due by 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. There is no cost to enter. Visitwww.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 the Milwaukee-area Service Corps of Retired Executives and the Center for Technology Commercialization.

With more than 70 members, SCORE’s Southeast Wisconsin chapter offers free business consulting, business mentoring and business resources, plus low-cost business trainings. The Center for Technology Commercialization 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.

In addition to access to mentors, contestants will receive feedback from more than 70 judges as the contest progresses. The judges, from around the state, the Upper Midwest and Silicon Valley, represent a cross-section of disciplines that help define Wisconsin’s startup culture.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 2,900 entries have been received and about $1.8 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 $160 million in angel, venture, grants and venture debt over time – all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin. Produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council, the contest’s major sponsor is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Additional sponsors to date include Aberdean; American Family Insurance; Exact Sciences; Kollath & Associates; Madison Gas & Electric; Michael Best & Friedrich; Nordic, UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; and Wisconsin Technical College System.

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