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 21st century 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.

Reporters wishing to contact individual contestants or learn more about their Phase 1 plans should contact Liz Schrum or Tom Still at 608-442-7557.

Sponsors of the 2009 contest so far: Aberdean Consulting LLC; American Transmission Co.; Associated Bank; The Boldt Company; CG Schmidt Co.; EarthIT; Fitchburg Technology Campus; Foley & Lardner LLP; The Gialamas Company; Johnson Block CPAs; Journal Interactive, the digital media division of Journal Communications, Inc.; Loughrin Accounting & Tax Service; Marshfield Clinic Applied Sciences; Madison Gas & Electric Co.; McAllen TEC Campus; Michael Best & Friedrich LLP; Midwest Airlines; Murphy Desmond, S.C.; Quarles & Brady LLP; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.; Ruedebusch Development & Construction; Smith & Gesteland LLP; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; TDS Telecom; University Research Park; Wisconsin Department of Commerce;; Wisconsin Angel Network; Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C.; and the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Here are the 2009 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 ext. 27.

Saul Arteaga                       Telephone Interpreting                      Delavan
John Baker                          Heart attack drugs                           Wauwatosa
Ophir Ben-Yitschak              Scopia                                             Bayside
Harry Burrell                        Genostx LLC                                  Middleton
Mike Casper                        FLEx                                              Chicago, Ill.
Matthew Christensen            ColoGlow                                       Madison
Brian Cole                           Innovative Sports Strategies              Milwaukee
Scott Daigger                       Sandbox International, LLC              Madison
Michael Deau                      EcoStream                                  Menomonee Falls
Charles DeShong                American Patriot Aircraft                Milwaukee
Peter Dietrich                    Scaleable Anaerobic Digester           Madison
Gregory Dockter                Topical Blood Clotting Product         Cottage Grove
Erik Gammell                      Eco-Tile                                        Verona
Roger Gerlach                    ReaLens LLC eye lens                   Oshkosh
Charles Gibson                   Direct-White Phosphor for LEDs     Oshkosh
Charles Gibson                 Advanced EES Device                    Oshkosh
Eric Griswold                    Talking Bottlecap                          Milwaukee
Greg Gulick                       Medtric                                    Whitefish Bay
Randy Gunter                   The Ad Diner                               New Glarus
Brian Hans                       Earth Mimic                                 Appleton
Scott Hare                        Local Choice Distributing               Belleville
Richard Hogan                  3-D TV                                        Ixonia
Farhat Iqbal                      Solar Carport Canopy                     Verona
Patrick James                  DEMET: Resources from Wastes     Madison
Jim Jendusa                      Lightweight Structures                     Hartland
Sanchayita Kar                 A biotech service company             Madison
Michael Kohnen               LitroEnergy                                    Clayton
Sarah Manski                                          Madison
Jim Martin                        Green 3 Organic Apparel               Oshkosh
Michael Miller                   NxtMile Custom Running Shoes      Madison
Kyle Montgomery             AquaMost                                     Fitchburg
Dan Norton                       PLEX Labs                                  Madison
David Ottosen                  In-House Marketing Solutions         Eau Claire
Thomas Primiano              Shiloh Laboratories                        Monona
Bonnie Reinke                 Eso-Technologies, Inc                      Middleton
CJ Schmidt                      Concrete Crack Reducer                 De Pere
Rishi Shah                       Flying Cart LLC                             Madison
Ken Smith                        LED Fuel Cell Light                        Colfax
Ken Smith                        Direct Methanol FC                       
#160; Colfax
James Sun                       Terahertz Technology                       Madison
Dan Voell                        Mendotasoft, LLC                           Milwaukee
Phillip Walesa                  Dual Mode Portable LED Illumin      Wauwatosa
Woody Wallace               Cloud Machine                                Madison
Leanne Wick                   The Fire Blaster                            Green Bay
Adam Wiese                  Wisco Solar                                    Waukesha
Charles Xie                    SecNet                                           Madison
Vladislav Yakovlev         Smart Wave Solutions                      Glendale
A. W. Young                  OTA Interpersonal Payments           Rhinelander
Hong Yu                        AskHERMES                                  Milwaukee
Rob Zwettler                 Web-based Accounting Software        Rhinelander