Record number of judges to screen entries for 2014 Wis. Governor’s Biz Plan Contest

January 20, 2014

MADISON – More than 85 judges have volunteered to judge entries in the 2014 Governor’s Business Plan Contest, a record number 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, 2014, to enter their 250-word business ideas at

Major categories of judges include 13 early stage investors and eight professionals from other financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions. Two of the 13 early stage investors are UW-Madison graduates based in California’s Silicon Valley.

2014BPCbannertallThe list also includes 23 judges who have backgrounds as entrepreneurs and another five who are executives in larger businesses that often do business with startups and emerging companies.

Fourteen judges have 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, the UW-Milwaukee, the Marshfield Clinic, the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin – are represented.

Another 24 judges have backgrounds in business or professional services that apply directly to startup companies and entrepreneurs.

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 the Service Corps of Retired Professionals, or 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 11th annual contest.

Designed to encourage entrepreneurs in the seed, startup and early growth stages of high-tech 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 2,600 entries have been received from 280 communities across Wisconsin. Finalists have shared in $1.7 million in cash and in-kind prizes (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing).

Past finalists have launched companies that have raised at least $70 million in grants, loans and private equity financing – all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin.

The contest’s major sponsors include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

To enter or become a sponsor, visit

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