Wisconsin student entries welcome by Jan. 31 for 2018 Governor’s Business Plan Contest

 

Looking for a self-directed project this semester that can lead to prizes, mentoring and live connections to the business world? The 15th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest will accept entries online for the 2018 competition until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31.

The contest is designed to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin. It links up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of community resources, expert advice, management talent and possible sources of capital.

It also leads to valuable public and media exposure for the top business plans and helps spur economic growth in the state. Two winning BPC plans from recent graduates have gone on to appear of ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank,” including Hyde Sportswear. That episode will air 8 p.m. Jan. 21.

Finalists will share in more than $100,000 in cash and service prizes. There is no cost to enter.

For their initial entries, contestants will submit a 250-word (or 2,000-character) idea abstract online at www.govsbizplancontest.com. That’s where contestants will also find business plan templates and other information, such as the Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit. The toolkit provides business startup information and assistance, networking contacts and technical resources.

Contestants who advance to subsequent contest rounds will expand their plan in stages. More than 70 judges drawn from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the entries and provide feedback on submissions.

To get started, contestants will need to create a simple account at www.govsbizplancontest.com.  All entries are submitted through the website. Contestants use their account to gain access to mentors throughout the process, as well as review the judges’ comments and feedback.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 3,500 entries have been received and about $2.2 million in cash and services (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing) have been awarded. Contest categories are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences.

Wisconsin residents 18 years old and older are eligible, as are teams from Wisconsin-based businesses and organizations. Businesses or teams from outside the state are also eligible to compete if they demonstrate intent to base their business in Wisconsin. Entrepreneurs may also enter multiple ideas, though each idea must be separate and distinct.

Companies or individuals that have raised less than $25,000 in private equity for their plans in a current form are eligible to enter. Generally speaking, private equity refers to angel and venture capital.

As with past contests, the 2018 competition will take place in stages:

  • In Phase 1, which is open until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, the contest will accept idea abstracts on the website. Entries should be roughly 250 words (or no more than 2,000 characters, including spaces) and will be graded by the pool of BPC judges. The top 50 idea abstracts will advance to Phase 2.
  • In Phase 2, which runs from Feb. 19 to 5 p.m. March 12, 2018, the top 50 idea abstracts will submit an executive summary. The top 20 executive summaries will advance to Phase 3. A mentored “boot camp” for contestants will be held in early March.
  • In Phase 3, which runs from April 2 to 5 p.m. April 23, 2018, the top 20 executive summaries will prepare full business plans. Judges will review the plans and pick three finalists from each of the four categories to advance to the final presentation round. Mentored practice sessions will be offered to the top 12 in late May.
  • The top 12, or “Diligent Dozen,” will square off with oral presentations during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 5 at Union South in Madison.

Past finalists have launched companies that have raised more than $200 million in angel, venture, grants and venture debt over time – all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin. The contest’s major sponsors include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The 2017 grand prize winner was Northern Star Fire, an Eau Claire startup company whose device is an eight-directional compass that firefighters place inside their breathing apparatus and helps maintain and/or regain their orientation in low visibility conditions. Category winners in 2017 were Northern Star Fire (Advanced Manufacturing), Compost Crusader (Business Services), DotCom Therapy (Information Technology), and Nano Red (Life Sciences).

Produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council, the contest’s major sponsor is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. To enter, become a judge or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com.

Experienced mentors on call for Biz Plan Contest entrants

Experienced mentors from across Wisconsin will be available to offer advice to contestants during the 15th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Initial entries of 250 words are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. There is no cost to enter. Visit www.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 SCORE Wisconsin and the Center for Technology Commercialization, which has federal, state and university ties.

SCORE offers free business consulting, business mentoring and business resources, plus low-cost business trainings. The CTC 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.

As another resource, SCORE will offer free access to many fee-based training classes around the state to all 2018 contestants.

In addition to access to mentors, contestants will receive feedback from scores of judges as the contest progresses.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 3,520 entries have been received and about $2.2 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 $200 million in angel, venture, grants and venture debt over time – all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin.

Wisconsin residents 18 years old and older are eligible, as are teams from Wisconsin-based businesses and organizations. Businesses or teams from outside the state are also eligible to compete if they demonstrate intent to base their business in Wisconsin. Entrepreneurs may also enter multiple ideas, though each idea must be separate and distinct.

Companies or individuals that have raised less than $25,000 in private equity for their plans in a current form are eligible to enter. Generally speaking, private equity refers to angel and venture capital.

As with past contests, the 2018 competition will take place in stages:

  • In Phase 1, which is open until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, the contest will accept idea abstracts on the website. Entries should be roughly 250 words (or no more than 2,000 characters, including spaces) and will be graded by the pool of BPC judges. The top 50 idea abstracts will advance to Phase 2.
  • In Phase 2, which runs from Feb. 19 to 5 p.m. March 12, 2018, the top 50 idea abstracts will submit an executive summary. The top 20 executive summaries will advance to Phase 3. A mentored “boot camp” for contestants will be held in early March.
  • In Phase 3, which runs from April 2 to 5 p.m. April 23, 2018, the top 20 executive summaries will prepare full business plans. Judges will review the plans and pick three finalists from each of the four categories to advance to the final presentation round. Mentored practice sessions will be offered to the top 12 in late May.
  • The top 12, or “Diligent Dozen,” will square off with oral presentations during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 5 at Union South in Madison.

Past finalists have launched companies that have raised more than $200 million in angel, venture, grants and venture debt over time – all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin. The contest’s major sponsors include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The 2017 grand prize winner was Northern Star Fire, an Eau Claire startup company whose device is an eight-directional compass that firefighters place inside their breathing apparatus and helps maintain and/or regain their orientation in low visibility conditions. Category winners in 2017 were Northern Star Fire (Advanced Manufacturing), Compost Crusader (Business Services), DotCom Therapy (Information Technology), and Nano Red (Life Sciences).

To enter, become a judge or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com.

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Journal Sentinel: Contest helps startups move from cocktail napkin to reality

MADISON – The first Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest in 2004 ended in a tie … a statistical, down to the hundredths-place tie.

The judges scratched their heads and declared co-winners, a verdict vindicated by time as the deadline for entering the 15th annual contest nears.

One co-winner of the inaugural contest, BioSystem Development of Madison, was acquired in 2011 by Agilent. Founder Scott Fulton is now working on another young lab-tech company, Cellara LLC.

The other co-winner, Novascan LLC of Milwaukee, began with a device to detect cancer electrically and pivoted by building a device to help perform Mohs surgery for skin cancer. A clinical trial will take place this year and investors are optimistic.

The honor roll of companies (current or acquired) that gained traction through the Governor’s Business Plan Contest didn’t stop with that unlikely tie. Over time, more than 3,500 plans from more than 300 Wisconsin communities have been entered in the contest.

Finalists have included companies such as RevolutionEHR, Vector Surgical, Nerites, Elucent Medical, Fishidy, Lynx Biosciences, Hyde, bluDiagnostics, Strategic Fishing Systems, Optametra, Platypus Technologies, Reza Band, RoWheels, MobCraft Beer, Sector67 and BadgerBites.

The founders of BadgerBites, known today as EatStreet, recently crashed the Forbes “30 under 30” list.

Some lunar-sized craters were left by promising finalists, too, but that’s not unusual in the world of emerging companies. A more striking fact is that past finalists have enjoyed a high survival rate, especially compared to the U.S. startup mortality rate overall. Collectively, past contestants have raised at least $200 million in angel and venture capital and venture debt — all while creating jobs and economic value in Wisconsin.

As the 15th version of the contest heads toward a Jan. 31 deadline at www.govsbizplancontest.com, it’s time for another edition of entrants to make their bids for success.

The contest links up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of community resources, expert advice and mentoring, management talent and possible sources of capital.

Two workshops are scheduled for people who would like to learn more about entering:

  • Noon Jan. 11 at the Tech Council Innovation Network meeting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Accelerator in Wauwatosa. Click here to register.
  • 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Industrious co-working space, 25 W. Main St., Madison. Click here to register.  

Contest categories are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences. For their initial entries, contestants will submit a 250-word idea abstract that will be reviewed by members of an 85-person judging panel.

Wisconsin residents 18 years old and older are eligible, as are teams from state-based businesses and organizations. Businesses or teams from outside the state are also eligible if they demonstrate intent to base their business in Wisconsin. Entrepreneurs may also enter multiple ideas. Companies or individuals that have raised less than $25,000 in private equity for their plans in a current form may enter.

A dozen top contestants will present at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in June.

It’s free to enter and the contest is conducted in stages, which means people can walk before they run. A March 1 seminar for the semifinalists will be held in Waukesha to provide help with taking a business plan to the next stage.

What about those entrepreneurs who believe they don’t really need a business plan to get started? After all, they argue, building a “Minimum Viable Product” may test the market as well as anything. That’s true, but even experts who like lean startups find merit in writing a plan. Business plans help startups and even older businesses make their mistakes on paper  vs. real life. Plans help to set goals and serve as a platform for action, even if such plans change before the ink is dry.

For a growing list of emerging companies in Wisconsin, it all started with an idea and a plan. Take your idea from cocktail-napkin notes to reality. Resolve to start your new year by entering the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Military vets may enter statewide Biz Plan Contest

MADISON – At a time when more veterans are expressing interest in becoming entrepreneurs, the 15th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is accepting entries online for the 2018 competition until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018.

In 2016, for example, a Madison-area startup formed by a U.S. Air Force veteran placed first in the Information Technology category of the statewide contest. Nick Mastronardi, a former Air Force officer, launched POLCO as a civic engagement platform.

The contest is designed 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 and mentoring, management talent and possible sources of capital.

Two workshops are scheduled for people who would like to learn more about entering:

  • Jan. 11 at the Tech Council Innovation Network meeting at the UW-Milwaukee Accelerator in Wauwatosa. Click here to register.
  • Jan. 17 at the Industrious co-working space, 25 W. Main St., Madison. Click here to register.

Over time, the contest has led to valuable public and media exposure for the top business plans and spurred economic growth in Wisconsin. Finalists will share in more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

For their initial entries, contestants will submit a 250-word (about 2,000 characters) idea abstract online at www.govsbizplancontest.com. That’s where contestants will also find business plan templates and other information, such as the Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit. The toolkit provides business startup information and assistance, networking contacts and technical resources.

Contestants who advance to subsequent contest rounds will expand their plan in stages. More than 70 judges drawn from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the entries and provide feedback on submissions.

To get started, contestants must create a free account at www.govsbizplancontest.comAll entries are submitted through the website. Contestants use their account to gain access to mentors throughout the process, as well as review the judges’ comments and feedback.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 3,500 entries have been received and about $2.2 million in cash and services (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing) have been awarded. Contest categories are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences.

Wisconsin residents 18 years old and older are eligible, as are teams from Wisconsin-based businesses and organizations. Businesses or teams from outside the state are also eligible to compete if they demonstrate intent to base their business in Wisconsin. Entrepreneurs may also enter multiple ideas, though each idea must be separate and distinct. Companies or individuals that have raised less than $25,000 in private equity for their plans in a current form may enter.

As with past contests, the 2018 competition will take place in stages:

  • In Phase 1, which is open until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, the contest will accept idea abstracts on the website. Entries should be roughly 250 words (or no more than 2,000 characters, including spaces) and will be graded by the pool of BPC judges. The top 50 idea abstracts will advance to Phase 2.
  • In Phase 2, which runs from Feb. 19 to 5 p.m. March 12, 2018, the top 50 idea abstracts will submit an executive summary. The top 20 executive summaries will advance to Phase 3. A mentored “boot camp” for contestants will be held in early March.
  • In Phase 3, which runs from April 2 to 5 p.m. April 23, 2018, the top 20 executive summaries will prepare full business plans. Judges will review the plans and pick three finalists from each of the four categories to advance to the final presentation round. Mentored practice sessions will be offered to the top 12 in late May.
  • The top 12, or “Diligent Dozen,” will square off with oral presentations during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 5 at Union South in Madison.

Past finalists have launched companies that have raised more than $200 million in angel, venture, grants and venture debt over time – all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin. The contest’s major sponsors include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. It is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council.

To enter, become a judge or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com.

Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest open for 2018 entries through Jan. 31, 2018

The 15th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is accepting entries online for the 2018 competition until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018.

The contest is designed 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 and mentoring, management talent and possible sources of capital.

Over time, the contest has led to valuable public and media exposure for the top business plans and spurred economic growth in Wisconsin. Finalists will share in more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

For their initial entries, contestants will submit a 250-word (about 2,000 characters) idea abstract online at www.govsbizplancontest.com. That’s where contestants will also find business plan templates and other information, such as the Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit. The toolkit provides business startup information and assistance, networking contacts and technical resources.

Contestants who advance to subsequent contest rounds will expand their plan in stages. More than 70 judges drawn from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the entries and provide feedback on submissions.

To get started, contestants must create a simple account at www.govsbizplancontest.comAll entries are submitted through the website. Contestants use their account to gain access to mentors throughout the process, as well as review the judges’ comments and feedback.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 3,520 entries have been received and about $2.2 million in cash and services (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing) have been awarded. Contest categories are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences.

Wisconsin residents 18 years old and older are eligible, as are teams from Wisconsin-based businesses and organizations. Businesses or teams from outside the state are also eligible to compete if they demonstrate intent to base or expand their business in Wisconsin. Entrepreneurs may also enter multiple ideas, though each idea must be separate and distinct.

Companies or individuals that have raised less than $25,000 in private equity for their plans in a current form are eligible to enter. Generally speaking, private equity refers to angel and venture capital.

As with past contests, the 2018 competition will take place in stages:

  • In Phase 1, which is open until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, the contest will accept idea abstracts on the website. Entries should be roughly 250 words (or no more than 2,000 characters, including spaces) and will be graded by the pool of BPC judges. The top 50 idea abstracts will advance to Phase 2.
  • In Phase 2, which runs from Feb. 19 to 5 p.m. March 12, 2018, the top 50 idea abstracts will submit an executive summary. The top 20 executive summaries will advance to Phase 3. A mentored “boot camp” for contestants will be held in early March.

 

  • In Phase 3, which runs from April 2 to 5 p.m. April 23, 2018, the top 20 executive summaries will prepare full business plans. Judges will review the plans and pick three finalists from each of the four categories to advance to the final presentation round. Mentored practice sessions will be offered to the top 12 in late May.

 

  • The top 12, or “Diligent Dozen,” will square off with oral presentations during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 5 at Union South in Madison.

Past finalists have launched companies that have raised more than $200 million in angel, venture, grants and venture debt over time – all while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin. The contest’s major sponsors include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The 2017 grand prize winner was Northern Star Fire, an Eau Claire startup company whose device is an eight-directional compass that firefighters place inside their breathing apparatus and helps maintain and/or regain their orientation in low visibility conditions. Category winners in 2017 were Northern Star Fire (Advanced Manufacturing), Compost Crusader (Business Services), DotCom Therapy (Information Technology), and Nano Red (Life Sciences).

To enter, become a judge or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com.

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