28 Feb Contest narrows to 52 business plans
A field of 200 applicants has been winnowed to 52 in the Second Annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.
An independent panel of judges selected the survivors, who will move on to Phase 2 of the contest. The judges were organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council, which is producing the contest in conjunction with its membership subsidiary, the Wisconsin Innovation Network, and other statewide affiliates.
“Our judges were impressed by the quality of the brief business plan ideas submitted by entrepreneurs from across Wisconsin – so much so that it was difficult to reduce the number of plans selected for the next phase of competition,” said Mark Bugher, chairman of the Technology Council. “The quality of the competition so far supports our belief that Wisconsin has the ideas and the entrepreneurs necessary to succeed in the 21st century economy. This contest will help some of the ideas grow into companies.”
One contestant hoping for just that is Daniel Bath, whose idea for providing music at the fingertips of customers through a service called MyMusic.Net has propelled him into Phase 2. The Milwaukee resident said he would put any money he’s fortunate enough to receive as a result of the contest toward patents and technology.
“We’re pretty excited about that,” Bath said of making the cut. “I’ve gone through several different evolutions of businesses in the past, whether it was working with partners or sole proprietorships. Unfortunately, it can become difficult to break through that barrier and actually attain patents and ownership of a commercial idea.”
The idea behind MyMusic.Net is to offer customers convenient access to all their digital music online through car stereos, home stereos or portable devices by the use of biometric authentication devices such as thumbprint scanners. By having an account managed by MyMusic.Net, users could have a one-stop repository of all their digital music through any of their devices without fishing for CDs or confining themselves to just one portable device such as Apple’s wildly successful iPod.
“The recording industry is excited to have products that control ownership of music licenses, and stereo manufacturers—whether it’s car, home or portable—they like something that competes against the iPod,” Bath said. “It’s real portability that comes with any device logging into account. You don’t continuously have to worry about the state of your CDs; the authentication simply happens through our service network.”
The 52 contestants competing in Phase 2 will write short summary business plans, which must be submitted to the Tech Council by 5 p.m. on March 15. Phase 2 judging will take place until April 1. The top 20 contestants will move on to Phase 3, in which contestants will write a full business plan. Winners will be announced in June at the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee.
Sponsors include the state Department of Commerce, American Transmission Co., Mason Wells Private Equity, the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich, the law firm of Axley Brynelson, Madison Gas & Electric, Wisconsin Technology Network, J.P. Cullen and Sons, the architectural firm of Potter Lawson, Loughrin Accounting and Tax Services and the Wisconsin Technology Council.