Here is a quick glimpse at BPC first-round entries

Here is a quick glimpse at BPC first-round entries

The 2020 version of the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is under way and it has already provided a fascinating glimpse at Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial profile.

The entry phase closed Jan. 31 with 200 entries spread across four broad categories – advanced manufacturing, business services, information technology and life sciences.

Advanced manufacturing and life sciences each drew about 40 entries. Business services attracted nearly 60 entries and information technology received more than 70.

The geographic spread showed that entrepreneurs come from just about anywhere in Wisconsin. For the first time in the contest’s 17-year history, more entries came from outside Dane County than inside.

That’s not a rap against the Dane County tech economy, but a sign of increased activity elsewhere.

The rise of women in business was also reflected in the numbers, with more than a third of all entries (about 70) coming from female entrepreneurs.

The contest will be conducted in phases between now and early June, when it culminates at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee.

Finalists will share in prizes but, just as valuable, plenty of solid advice from our mentors and judges.

The real prize is a head start on building a durable business. The Tech Council surveyed the top 25 entrants from each of the past eight years of the contest; 77 percent are still in business.

That is about double the survival rate of U.S. startup companies, in general.

By the way, 77 percent was the exact same survival rate for business plan finalists from 2004 through 2011.

The Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest has helped scores of young companies get off the ground over time, often by plugging them into other resources well beyond the contest itself.

Join us in following the progress of the 2020 class of contestants as they work their way toward the pitch stage in Milwaukee!