MADISON – Fifty-four entries from 26
communities have advanced to the semi-final round of the 12th
annual Wisconsin Governor’s
Business Plan Contest
, contest producers announced Tuesday.

The contestants were selected from a field of 238 qualified first-round
entries by an independent panel of more than 80 judges organized through the
Wisconsin Technology Council and its programs, the Wisconsin Innovation Network
and the Wisconsin Angel Network.

The semi-finalists reflect the
diversity of Wisconsin’s economy and are spread among four broad categories:
advanced manufacturing (15), business services (14), information technology (14)
and life sciences (11).

Water technologies, health
information technologies, software solutions, agriculture, products and
processes for manufacturing, and medical devices and treatments were sectors
that drew a number of entries. The contest also attracted entries focused on
sports and recreation innovations – including the state’s hunting and fishing

“Trends reflected in the top 54 entries match up well with
Wisconsin’s traditional and emerging strengths,” said Toni Sikes, chair of the
Tech Council and co-founder of CODAworx. “Good ideas come from all high-growth
sectors of the economy.”

The 54 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 54
entries may be made available for inspection
by accredited investors through the Wisconsin Angel Network, 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 2 at the Alliant Energy
Center in Madison. Category winners, as well as the 2015 Grand Prize Winner,
will be announced during the BPC Awards Luncheon on June 3.

Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal
assistance, accounting, information technology consulting, marketing 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 sponsors of the 2015
contest thus far include: 100state; Aberdean Consulting; American Family
Insurance; AT&T; Exact Sciences; Kollath & Associates; Madison Gas
& Electric; Marshfield Clinic Applied Sciences; Michael Best &
Friedrich; Nordic; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE Wisconsin; Tweedee
Productions; University Research Park; UW-Madison Office of Corporate
Relations; and the Wisconsin Technical College System.

Here are the 2015 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.