The entry deadline for the 18th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is 5 p.m. Jan. 31. Don’t miss an opportunity to share up to $125,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. Get started at!

Here are 10 reasons you should enter your business idea:

  1. It’s free. Other than the cost of your time, there is no fee to enter the contest.
  2. You don’t have to be Tolstoy. The initial entry is only 250 words, spread among four criteria – product or service description, customer definition, market description and competition. That’s about 62 words per category.
  3. You don’t even need a stamp. The contest is online at
  4. You can win valuable prizes. The contest will feature up to $125,000 in cash and service prizes such as co-working space, legal services, accounting and interior design. For many contestants, these services will provide an important jumpstart in getting their businesses rolling.
  5. You’ll get some free advice. Judges in the contest are experienced in their respective fields and often provide feedback to contestants. Volunteer mentors from SCORE and the Center for Technology Commercialization are available to answer questions throughout the contest. The 50 entries that advance to Phase 2 will be invited to a free “boot camp” to be held virtually on March 2, 2021.
  6. You’ll meet other entrepreneurs like yourself. As much as it may sometimes seem like you’re alone, you’re not. There are other entrepreneurs like you – and they often have similar experiences to share. You will meet them at virtual events, such as our boot camp and more.
  7. There’s a strong alumni club. An estimated three-quarters of contest finalists were still in business at last count, and those same finalists have raised at least $220 million in grants, angel capital and venture capital or debt over time.
  8. You might meet an investor. Many angel and venture capitalists are among the contest judges, and they are often keeping an eye out for up-and-coming companies in the contest.
  9. You might get a chance to talk about your idea live at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. The top 12 finalists will present in the contest’s annual “Diligent Dozen” showcase, held as a part of the conference, which will be in June 2021.
  10. What better way to move your good idea off the desk and closer to reality? There’s no better motivation than a deadline, so enter by 5 p.m. Jan. 31, 2021!

To view a webinar on how to win the Governor’s Business Plan Contest, click here.