Fifty-two entries from 22 communities have advanced to the semi-final round of the 17th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, contest producers announced.
The contestants were selected from a field of more than 200 qualified first-round entries by an independent panel of 95 judges organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its programs, the Tech Council Innovation Network and the Tech Council Investor Networks.
The semi-finalists are spread among four broad categories: advanced manufacturing (13), business services (10), information technology (15) and life sciences (14).
Those 52 plans also represent the geographic diversity of Wisconsin, with 30 of 52 plans originating outside Dane County. Fourteen of 52 entrants are women.
Plans cover a mix of market sectors. The Advanced Manufacturing group includes systems for producing hydrogen and methane, a 3-D printed violin, a modular hunting blind system, a do-it-yourself airplane kit and a long-lasting household disinfectant.
The Business Services category includes plans tied to educational toys, safety clothing for women, maritime training and an online system for selecting and scheduling court reporters.
Information Technology plans feature systems to improve a mix of businesses and endeavors, from skiing to audio-visual systems, and from construction equipment management to voice-activated retail store searches.
Also moving on to the next round were plans tied to Life Sciences breakthroughs, such as diagnostics or therapeutics for conditions such as intestinal ailments, heart disease, cancer, sickle cell, wound healing and hearing. There are also systems for organizing hospital and surgical room tubes, an ergonomic syringe and a way to better manage insulin injections.
“Trends reflected in the top 52 entries match up well with Wisconsin’s traditional and emerging strengths,” said Greg Lynch, chairman of the Tech Council. “Good ideas come from all high-growth sectors of the economy.”
The 52 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 52 entries may be made available for inspection by accredited investors through the Tech Council Investor Networks, which has about two-dozen angel networks, early stage funds or corporate strategic partners. About two-dozen plans will write a full 15- to 20-page business plan in Phase 3.
The top dozen contestants will give live presentations at the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 4 at Northwestern Mutual in Milwaukee. Category winners, as well as the 2020 Grand Prize Winner, will be announced June 4 during the conference.
Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, marketing, social media management and more. About $2 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded over time. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is a major sponsor.
Additional lead sponsors of the 2020 contest thus far include: 3Rhino Media; American Transmission Company; AT&T; Eppstein Uhen Architects; Pieper Properties; Quarles & Brady; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE; University Research Park; Ward4; 6 AM Marketing; Associate sponsors include Aberdean Consulting; Whitewater University Technology Park; Murphy Desmond; Spencer X Smith and AmpliPhi. Additional sponsors are Applied Management; Versiti; Irontek; Madison Gas & Electric; Marshfield Clinic Health System; Reverbal Communications; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
Here are the 2020 semi-finalists. Reporters wishing to contact individual contestants may do so through the Wisconsin Technology Council by calling 608-442-7557.
|Explorer’s Guide Online||Rebekah||Carsey||Franklin|
|Impact Sports||Joshua||Cleveland||River Falls|
|Drift + Row||Brenna||Davis||Wauwatosa|
|SpayVac for Wildlife||Thomas||D’Orazio||Fitchburg|
|Thermonator Holdings||Paul||Gromowski||Hales Corners|
|Energy Tech Innovations||Bryan||Johnson||Milwaukee|
|AGent Plus Solutions||Jeffrey||Lord||New Berlin|
|UpStream AV||Jim||McDougall||Eau Claire|
|Alpen Life / Inland Alpine||Olivia||Merithew||Madison|
|RedFox AI/Maz||Nick||Myers||Sun Prairie|
|Ascending Hearing Technologies||Christina||Runge||New Berlin|
|Da Vinci Industries||Anthony||Valiulis||Janesville|
|Atrility Medical||Nicholas||Von Bergen||Madison|