Frequently Asked Questions

Submit your idea!

Deadline: January 31, 5 p.m.

Why should I enter the competition?

  • BPC judges, mentors and other resources will help you gain the basic skills necessary to create a business plan.
  • The BPC is tailored to and targeted at entrepreneurs with limited independent business experience. Judges look for important factors such as innovation, relevant expertise, competitive advantage and market opportunity.
  • It doesn’t cost you anything. It is free to enter.
  • Contestants will meet some interesting people: mentors, potential investors, successful entrepreneurs and others with startup experience.
  • The 50 semi-finalists will be invited to attend a half-day “boot camp” in early March.
  • There is a lot of exposure that comes with doing well in the contest. New media, investors and others pay attention to those who do well in the BPC.

Am I eligible to participate?

Individuals, teams or companies are eligible if they:

  • Are Wisconsin residents 18 years old or older, and who have a business plan that employs or leverages technology. Examples of technology include an eCommerce platform for a traditional business, a mobile application, a life sciences innovation or an advanced manufacturing process or system.
  • Are based in Wisconsin and/or plan to locate a business in Wisconsin.
  • Have not received private equity funding for an idea in its current form. For the purposes of this contest, private equity funding includes ONLY angel or venture funding. It does not include SBIR/STTR, bank loans, accelerator program investment or funding from friends or family. Questions? Email our contest administrator.

Can I use Intellectual Property in my business?

All intellectual property used in business ideas and/or plans must be owned or licensed by the BPC entrant. For BPC purposes, examples of intellectual property include but are not limited to trademarks, copyrights, patent-pending status or an issued patent.

Can I enter more than one idea?

There is no upper limit to the number of unique ideas or plans a contestant may submit. For example, one contestant may submit an idea for a new paper pulping process to the Advanced Manufacturing category and an idea for new paper-making software to the Information Technology category. The same contestant may have more than one idea advance though the competition in one or more categories. Be careful, however: Multiple entries also mean divided time.


Contestants need to create a new account for each entry. Each account will require a different email address. If you do not have more than one email address and would like to submit multiple entries, please contact the contest administrator at

Can I enter this year’s contest if I competed last year?

Past BPC participants are eligible to enter the contest again. Please note:


  • Previous category winners are NOT eligible to compete with the same plan.
  • Second and third place winners are eligible to compete with the same plan if they still meet the equity requirement.

Do I need a full business plan to enter?

No, you can walk before you run. The first phase entry is about 250 words (or 2,000 characters with spaces) spread among four criteria – product or service description; customer definition; market description, size and sales strategy; and competition. There’s no need to submit financials right away.

How do I know which contest category is the best fit for my idea?

The four contest categories are deliberately broad – advanced manufacturing, business services, information technology and life sciences. It’s rare that an entry cannot find a logical home. Contest administrators and judges will move entries between categories if necessary, but it seldom is.

How do I submit my entry?

All entries are accepted through the online portal – which you can access by clicking “MY ACCOUNT” above. The second and third stages of the contest also take place through that website, culminating in a 15- to 20-page plan. Up to 12 finalists will present live at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. That’s our “Diligent Dozen” phase.

Geez, sounds like a longshot to survive three online phases. What are my chances on getting to the Diligent Dozen?

Your chances of winning are a lot better than Powerball! If past contests are any indicator, roughly one in 14 entrants will reach the top 25. About 3,900 entries have been received over time and $2.2 million in cash and service prizes awarded.

Who are the judges and mentors?

The judges and mentors offer years of valuable experience. About 100 judges drawn from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the entries and provide feedback. Many of those judges are investors. The mentoring corps will include members of SCORE and the Center for Technology Commercialization.