MADISON – Fifty-two contestants from 23 communities across Wisconsin are competing in Phase 2 of the first Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, contest producers announced Friday.

The contestants were selected this week from a field of 200 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, and other statewide affiliates.

“Our judges were impressed by the quality of the brief business plan ideas submitted by entrepreneurs from across Wisconsin – so much so that it was difficult to reduce the number of plans selected for the next phase of competition,” said Mark Bugher, chairman of the Tech Council. “The quality of the competition so far supports our belief that Wisconsin has the ideas and the entrepreneurs necessary to succeed in the 21st century economy. This contest will help some of the ideas grow into companies.”

The 52 contestants competing in Phase 2 of the contest are writing summary business plans of no more than 1,250 words. The eight elements of that plan include an executive summary, product and service, customer definition, market size, sales and marketing strategy, management team, financial highlights, capital requested and planned use of funds.

Summary plans must be submitted to the Tech Council by 5 p.m. March 15; Phase 2 judging will take place throughout until April 1. The top 20 plans will move on to Phase 3, in which contestants will write a full business plan. Prize winners will be announced June 7-8 at the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, to be held at the Milwaukee Hyatt Regency.

Here is a breakdown of entries that advanced by category: Advanced Manufacturing (15), Business Services (13), Information Technology (13), and Life Sciences (11).

Communities with plans represented in Phase 2 are: Madison (9); Milwaukee (8); Green Bay (5); Brookfield and Fitchburg (3 each); Eau Claire, Hortonville, Middleton, Pewaukee, Sturtevant and Wind Lake (2 each); Bayside, Brown Deer, Elm Grove, Franklin, Hartland, Kimberly, Oconomowoc, Oregon, Rothschild, Verona, Wauwatosa and West Allis.

Sponsors of the first Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest include the state Department of Commerce, American Transmission Co., Mason Wells Private Equity, the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich, the law firm of Axley Brynelson, Madison Gas & Electric, Wisconsin Technology Network, J.P. Cullen and Sons, the architectural firm of Potter Lawson, Loughrin Accounting and Tax Services and the Wisconsin Technology Council.

View list of Phase 2 semi-finalists in alphabetical order by city (PDF Document)