Twenty-five entries representing sectors as broad as social media, health technologies and innovations in products or services are competing in the finalist round of the 15th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.
The contestants have survived two rounds of judging in the contest organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its sponsors and volunteers.
“These finalists are emblematic of Wisconsin’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Greg Lynch, Tech Council chairman. “Few contests can blend together industries as varied as life sciences, composting, speech therapy and drones.”
Manufacturing ideas include a chemo-sensor film to continuously measure the concentration of heavy metals in flowing water; a combination of a pepper-spray pistol and electrical stun-gun weapon; a security system that immediately detects gunshots; a sensor for thermal imaging; a process to produce a chemical used to manufacture paints and plastics; a modular home organization system; and an electricity generator that can fit in a pocket.
Plans tied to health care or life sciences include a drug used to prevent the aftermath of a stroke and eliminate significant brain damage; a medical device that allows cardiac clinicians to more rapidly identify and treat abnormal heart beats; a device to support early detection of breast cancer; an all-natural, organic baby food line; a process for more effective processing and storage of biological samples; and a way to save potentially 2.6 billion pounds of potatoes each year.
Software and business service plans include a digital platform for mortgage loan and renter’s applications; an easy-to-use website for zoning regulations in municipalities; an online subscription service providing independent contractors with excess tasks; a mobile app for public transportation; a nylon shoe strap that replaces standard shoelaces; safer contact sport equipment; and a staffing platform that specializes in filling open shifts in the food service industry.
Entries focused on social or educational innovations include platforms to provide clean electricity for off-grid rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa; and a social media app with a self-timer for awareness to social media addiction.
The contest began in late January with 196 qualified entries. To be eligible for the contest, participants cannot have raised more than $25,000 from professional angel and venture capital investors by the start of the contest.
Finalists will submit 15- to 20-page business plans for review by a panel of more than 110 judges. Each plan describes the core product or service, defines the customer base, estimates the size of the market, identifies competition, list members of the management team and provides key financial data. Finalists are also encouraged to provide feedback from a potential or current customer.
The “Diligent Dozen,” or top 12 business plans announced in late May, will present in front of a panel of judges and conference attendees at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 5 at Union South in Madison. Category winners, as well as the 2018 Grand Prize Winner, will be announced during the BPC Awards Luncheon on June 6. More information on the conference will be available in the coming weeks at www.witrepsconference.com.
Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, information technology consulting, marketing, prototyping, web design, event space and more. About $2.2 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded since the inception of the contest in 2004. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is a major sponsor.
Additional lead sponsors of the 2018 contest thus far include @1403; 3Rhino Media; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Co.; AT&T; COLLABORATORcreative; Eppstein Uhen Architects; Michael Best; Midwest Prototyping; Pieper Properties; Quarles & Brady; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE; StartingBlock Madison; The Creative Company; University Research Park; Ward4; Whitewater University Technology Park; and ZEBRADOG. Associate sponsors include 100state; Aberdean Consulting; Applied Management; Cresa Madison; Industrious Madison; Makin’ Hey!; Murphy Desmond; Reverbal Communications; Smith & Gesteland; and Spencer X Smith and AmpliPhi. Additional sponsors are BloodCenter of Wisconsin; DXC Technology; Idea Fund of La Crosse; The Ideas Network 90.7FM; Irontek; Madison Gas & Electric; Marshfield Clinic Health System; Neider & Boucher; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; and Wisconsin Technical College System.
Finalists are listed below. Reporters wishing to contact individual contestants may do so through the Tech Council by calling 608-442-7557.
|Entry||First Name||Last Name||City|
|Impact Sports||Joshua||Cleveland||River Falls|
|Shockray Self-Defense||Lorne||Forsythe||Oak Creek|
|Trinity Gunshot Alarm System||Stacy||Jax||Baraboo|
|Fast Forward Forensics||Randy||Nagy||Madison|
|Little Food Company||Amanda||Santoro||Appleton|
|Melius Outcomes||AkkeNeel||Talsma||Whitefish Bay|
|Swirl Insurance Services||Terry||Wakefield||Mequon|