Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest accepting entries

Contest to award $100,000 in cash and services

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

The Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is now accepting entries for 2018.

Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

The 15th annual contest, which is targeted to tech startups across the state, will award more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind services to the finalists. It is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council.

The contest is open to Wisconsin residents over the age of 18, Wisconsin-based businesses and organizations, and out-of-state businesses or teams willing to locate or expand their business in Wisconsin. The companies or individuals must have raised less than $25,000 in private equity for their ideas.

Entrants must write a 250-word idea abstract and enter it on the contest website. If entries are chosen to move on to the next rounds, the entrepreneurs will flesh out their business plans further.

Entries will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 31.

The initial group of entries will be narrowed to 50 ideas that continue on to phase 2. In that portion of the contest, which runs from Feb. 19 to March 12, the contestants will create an executive summary. Twenty companies will then be selected to move on to phase 3, and will complete a mentored boot camp in early March. In phase 3, which runs from April 2 to 23, the top 20 will create full business plans. The top 12 from phase 3 will then complete mentored practice rounds in late May. And finally, the top 12 will give oral presentations at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 5 in Madison, and the judges will select a grand prize winner, as well as winners in each of four categories.

The contest will be judged by more than 70 Wisconsin professionals from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors.

In the 2017 contest, Eau Claire-based startup Northern Star Fire won the grand prize and the Advanced Manufacturing category. Milwaukee-based Compost Crusader won the Business Services category, Wauwatosa-based Nano Red won the Life Sciences category and then-Springfield, Missouri-based DotCom Therapy won the Information Technology category.

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