Two Milwaukee companies win prizes in Governor’s Business Plan Contest

Eau Claire startup wins top award

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, introduces investors to startups seeking their series A round funding at the Early Stage Symposium.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:05 pm

Milwaukee-based startups Compost Crusader and Nano Red each won their categories in the 2017 Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Melissa Tashjian of Compost Crusader

The winners of the 14th annual contest were announced in Madison Wednesday at the Wisconsin Technology Council’s Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference.

The grand prize winner was Eau Claire-based Northern Star Fire, which developed an eight-directional compass for firefighter wayfinding in burning structures. It also won the contest’s Advanced Manufacturing category.

“Jeff Dykes’ passionate presentation and well-written plan will help Northern Star Fire solve a problem while building a business,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the contest.

Compost Crusader and founder Melissa Tashjian took home the top prize in the Business Services category for its cost-effective organic material pick-up service for organizations and municipalities.

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Nano Red and co-founder Johnathan Ebben won the Life Sciences category for its solution that delivers immune activators directly at tumors while sparing healthy tissue.

Other southeastern Wisconsin companies who got nods in their categories were: Sheboygan-based VibeTech, second place in Advanced Manufacturing; Milwaukee-based ThirdSpace and Milwaukee-based Pixologie, tied for third place in Business Services; and Mequon-based i65, third place in Information Technology.

There were 170 entries to the 2017 Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which were whittled down to the Diligent Dozen, through three rounds of judging. The 13 finalists each gave a seven-minute pitch during the Entrepreneurs’ Conference, describing their core product or service, defined customer base, estimated market size, identified competition, management team and key financial data. More than 85 judges selected by the WTC reviewed the finalists’ business plans.

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