Fifty entries from 26 communities have advanced to the semi-final round of the 14th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, contest producers announced Monday.
The contestants were selected from a field of 172 qualified first-round entries by an independent panel of about 85 judges organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its programs, the Tech Council Innovation Network and the Tech Council Investor Networks.
The semi-finalists reflect the diversity of Wisconsin’s economy and are spread among four broad categories: advanced manufacturing (12), business services (13), information technology (12) and life sciences (13).
Battery technologies, safety equipment for firefighters, watercraft, drone applications, rapidly deployed housing ‘pods,’ wearable technology, ways to take organic material out of the waste stream and turning crickets into a food source are among the top 50.
Also among entries that advanced are software or information systems related to photo and image archiving, trucking, travel, human resources, physical training, supply chain management, business networking, bus passes and soil testing.
Also moving on to the next round were plans tied to medical breakthroughs, such as treating or diagnosing cardiac arrhythmia, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, heparin reactions, opiate addictions, strokes and a specific leukemia.
“Trends reflected in the top 50 entries match up well with Wisconsin’s traditional and emerging strengths,” said Toni Sikes, chairwoman of the Tech Council and co-founder of CODAworx. “Good ideas come from all high-growth sectors of the economy.”
The 50 entries competing in Phase 2 of the contest will write 1,000-word executive summaries. Each summary 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.
Once Phase 2 judging is complete in early April, the 50 entries may be made available for inspection by accredited investors through the Tech Council Investor Networks, which has about two-dozen angel networks, early stage funds or corporate strategic partners. About two-dozen plans will move on to Phase 3, in which contestants will write a full 15- to 20-page business plan.
The top dozen contestants will give live presentations at the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 6 at Union South in Madison. Category winners, as well as the 2017 Grand Prize Winner, will be announced during the BPC Awards Luncheon on June 7.
Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, marketing, web development, prototyping and more. About $2 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded since the inception of the contest. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is a major sponsor.
Additional lead sponsors of the 2017 contest thus far include @1403; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Co.; AT&T; Hudson Business Lounge; Michael Best; Midwest Prototyping; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; Quarles & Brady; University Research Park; and Whitewater University Technology Park. Associate sponsors include 100state; Murphy Desmond; and Smith & Gesteland. Additional sponsors are EZ Office Products; iCandy Graphics & Web Design; Irontek; Madison Gas & Electric; Marshfield Clinic; PowerBuy 4 You; SCORE Wisconsin; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
Here are the 2017 semi-finalists in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest. Reporters wishing to contact individual contestants may do so through the Wisconsin Technology Council by calling 608-442-7557.
|CTL Solutions, LLC
|Cellular Logistics Inc
|Travel Like a Local
|Pivot Interactives SBC
|Career [RE]Search Group
|NexGen Gun Ranges
|Northern Star Fire LLC
|Nano Red, LLC
|Forsythe & Storms Technologies, LLC
|Blue Line Battery
|Sourcing USA Inc.
|accessAmerica Group, LLC
|Pilot Training System
|Liquid Biopsy for Cancer Diagnosis
|Upper Room Technology
|Menet Aero, Inc.
|Fast Forward Forensics LLC
|Mobile Bus Pass
|Real Time Harvest Advisor
|My Kids Ride, LLC
|HealthTech Solutions, Inc.
|Compost Crusader LLC
|Rapid Guard Flood Barrier System
*Entries from outside the state are eligible if committed to locating some aspect of their business within Wisconsin.