26 Feb Fifty of 326 entries advance to next round in Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest
MADISON – Fifty entries from 26 communities have advanced to the semi-final round of the sixth annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, contest producers announced Wednesday.
The contestants were selected from a field of 326 first-round entries by an independent panel of judges organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council, which is producing the contest in conjunction with its membership subsidiary, the Wisconsin Innovation Network, the Wisconsin Angel Network and other statewide affiliates.
The semi-finalists reflect the diversity of Wisconsin’s economy and are spread among four categories: advanced manufacturing (15), business services (14), information technology (12) and life sciences (9). That proportion roughly reflects the mix of Phase 1 entries in the contest’s four categories. Entries range from alternative energy solutions to IT innovations to products as diverse as a small aircraft and a “talking bottlecap.”
Five 2009 semi-finalists are contestants who advanced beyond the first round in past contests. Also, all five trophy winners in the 2007 and 2008 “Elevator Pitch Olympics” held at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium made the cut.
“Wisconsin continues to build a pipeline of entrepreneurs,” said Mark Bugher, chairman of the Tech Council. “The quality of the ideas submitted was very strong again this year, supporting our belief that Wisconsin has the ideas, the innovative culture and the entrepreneurs necessary to succeed in the 21stcentury economy.”
The 50 entries competing in Phase 2 of the contest are writing summary business plans of no more than 1,000 words. Each plan describes the core product or service, defines the customer base, estimates the size of the market, identifies competition, lists members of the management team and provides key financial data.
Phase 2 plans will be filed online by 5 p.m. March 12; the next judging period will last about two weeks. All of the Phase 2 contestants and their teammates have been invited to a Business Plan Contest “boot camp” today in Milwaukee to help them write their Phase 2 plan.
Once Phase 2 judging is complete, the 50 entries may be made available for inspection by accredited investors through the Wisconsin Angel Network, which has 25 member angel networks, private equity funds or corporate strategic partners.
The top 20 plans plus ties will move on to Phase 3, in which contestants will write a full business plan. About $150,000 in cash and in-kind prizes have been pledged for the 2009 contest thus far. First prize in the statewide contest is worth $50,000 in cash and services. Prize winners will be announced June 9-10 at the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee. The Tech Council has estimated that finalists from 2004 through 2008 have raised about $20 million in private equity.
Click here to see the 2009 semi-finalists in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.