The mission of the Governor’s Business Plan Contest is to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin. The contest links up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of community resources, expert advice, high-quality education, management talent and possible sources of capital.

Since its inception in 2004, about 3,500 entries have been received across four categories – advanced manufacturing, business services, information technology and life sciences. The contest has led to cash and in-kind prizes (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing) valued at about $2.2 million. More important: Contest finalists have raised more than $200 million in angel, venture, grants and venture debt over time. Those same finalists have stayed in business much longer than normal when compared to U.S. startup rates – and they are creating jobs.

Produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and a growing list of partners, the Governor’s Business Plan Contest engages contestants in a five-month process that includes the opportunity to work with mentors and receive feedback from judges. It also leads to valuable public and media exposure for the top business plans and helps spur economic growth in Wisconsin.

Click here for an overview (PDF) of the 2018 contest

The 2017 Governor’s Business Plan Contest began in late January when 716 entries were received from about 200 individuals representing 62 communities across the state, including entries from four communities that had not previously participated in the contest. To get started, contestants created a simple account at www.govsbizplancontest.com. All entries were submitted directly through the website. Contestants use the account to gain access to mentors throughout the process, as well as review the judges’ comments and feedback.

From the initial submissions, 50 semi-finalists were chosen to write and submit 1,000-word executive summaries. That field was narrowed to 24 finalists, representing 14 communities, who submitted 15- to 20-page business plans. Finalists’ plans covered eight fields: company overview; product or service description; customer definition; market description, size and sales strategy; competition; management team; financials; and capital needs. The final business plans were reviewed by a panel of more than 100 judges in May. They are competing for more than $150,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

The “Diligent Dozen” squared off with oral presentations at 3:05 p.m. June 6 at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. Category winners, as well as the 2016 Grand Prize Winner, were announced during the BPC Awards Luncheon on June 7.

This statewide contest is an opportunity to compete for cash and prizes, but it’s also a chance to get constructive feedback on your business plan and to help move it from a virtual business to a reality. In 2018, finalists will once again have the opportunity to share in upwards of $150,000 in cash and services!

Questions? Email our team at info@govsbizplancontest.com.

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