MADISON – The 12th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan
Contest is accepting entries online for the 2015
competition until 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. 

The contest is designed to
encourage entrepreneurs in the seed, startup and early growth stages of
high-tech businesses in Wisconsin. The contest links up-and-coming
entrepreneurs with a statewide network of community resources, expert advice,
high-quality education, management talent and possible sources of capital. It
also leads to valuable public and media exposure for the top business plans and
helps spur economic growth in the state. Finalists will share in more than
$100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

For their initial entries, contestants will submit a 250-word
(or 1,400-character) idea abstract online at That’s where contestants will
also find business plan templates and other information, such as the
Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit. The toolkit provides business startup information and
assistance, networking contacts and technical resources.

Contestants who advance to subsequent contest rounds will
expand their plan in stages. More than 70 judges drawn from the finance, sales,
marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the
entries and provide feedback on submissions.

To get started, contestants will need to create a simple
account at  All entries are submitted through the
website. Contestants use their account to gain access to mentors throughout the
process, as well as review the judges’ comments and feedback.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 2,900 entries have
been received and about $1.8 million in cash and services (such as legal,
accounting, office space and marketing) have been awarded. Contest categories
are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life

Wisconsin residents 18 years
old and older are eligible, as are teams from Wisconsin-based businesses and
organizations. Businesses or teams from outside the state are also eligible to
compete if they demonstrate intent to base their business in Wisconsin.
Entrepreneurs may also enter multiple ideas, though each idea must be separate
and distinct.

Companies or individuals that have
raised less than $25,000 in private equity for their plans in a current form
are eligible to enter. Generally speaking, private equity refers to angel and
venture capital.

As with past contests, the 2015 competition will take place
in stages:

  • In Phase 1, which is open until 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan.
    31, 2015, the contest will accept idea abstracts on the website. Entries should
    be roughly 250 words (or no more than 1,400 characters, including spaces)
    and will be graded by the pool of BPC judges. The top 50 idea abstracts
    will advance to Phase 2.      

  • In Phase 2, which runs from Feb. 23 to 5 p.m. March
    16, 2015, the top 50 idea abstracts will submit an executive summary. The
    top 20 executive summaries will advance to Phase 3.
  • In Phase 3, which runs
    from April 6 to 5 p.m. April 27, 2015, the top 20 executive summaries will
    prepare full business plans. Judges will review the plans and pick three finalists
    from each of the four categories to advance to the final presentation
  • The top 12, or “Diligent
    Dozen,” will square off with oral presentations during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’
    Conference on June 2 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

Past finalists have launched companies that have raised $160
million in angel, venture, grants and venture debt over time – all while
creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin. The contest’s major sponsors
include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The 2014 grand prize winner was
Elucent Medical, a Madison-based firm that is commercializing a wireless marker
tag and detections system that helps show surgeons tumor margins during
surgical excision. The device eliminates current pre-surgical hook-wire
localization procedures that are invasive, costly and highly inefficient.
Category winners in 2014 were MobCraft Beer (Advanced Manufacturing), Find My
Spot (Business Services), Organic Research Corp. (Information Technology), and
Elucent Medical (Life Sciences).

To enter, become a judge or a sponsor, visit