The 16th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is accepting entries online for the 2019 competition until 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.
Hosted by the Wisconsin Technology Council, the contest is designed to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin. Contest categories are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences. 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. In 2018, finalists shared in more than $150,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.
The contest website provides business plan templates and a toolkit for entrepreneurs to help teams get started. To enter the contest, teams must register on the website and submit a 250-word abstract about their startup. More than 100 judges drawn from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the entries and provide feedback on submissions. Contestants who advance to subsequent contest rounds will expand their plan in stages.
Since its inception in 2004, more than 3,700 entries have been received and about $2.2 million in cash and services (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing) have been awarded. 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.
The 2018 grand prize winner was NovoMoto, a Madison company that participated in Discovery to Product’s Igniter program. The model is being implemented in the western provinces of the Congo, where the opportunity for cheaper, reliable power will improve lives and provide a profitable business platform over time. Category winners in 2018 were Shockray Self Defense (Advanced Manufacturing), NovoMoto (Business Services), DataChat (Information Technology), and AmebaGone (Life Sciences).