Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs in Science, a statewide youth business plan contest modeled after the successful Governor’s Business Plan Contest, received a record number of 148 entries this month from middle- and high-school students across the state.

From Bangor to Wind Lake, and from Crivitz to Wauwatosa, public, private and home-schooled students submitted their science- and tech-based business plan ideas. The contest begins with a 250-word summary submitted by April 3 through www.WisconsinYES.com. Entries that advance to Phase 2 of the competition will expand their idea into a 1,000-word executive summary.

As a tool for educators, Wisconsin YES! fosters interest in science and tech education, and encourages students to be independent, creative thinkers capable of problem solving. Throughout the process, students get feedback from professionals across Wisconsin who will serve as judges.

“Leveraging technology, thinking creatively and working as a team are all important characteristics for today’s entrepreneurs,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “Entrepreneurial skills are vital to the long-term success of Wisconsin’s youth, as well as the state’s innovation economy.”

To get started, students created a simple account at www.WisconsinYES.com. All entries were submitted through the website. Templates and sample entries for both phases are available on the website, along with other entrepreneurial resources.

The end of each phase is followed by about one week of judging. At the end of the judging period, all contestants will be able to log into their accounts and view the judges’ comments.

Students may work in teams or as individuals and will be judged based upon their grade level, with the oldest team member determining the team category. Students or teams may enter multiple ideas.

Place finishers in each category – 9th grade and under, 10th grade, 11th grade and 12th grade – are eligible for cash and prizes. The grand prize winner will present his or her winning idea at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, June 7 in Madison. Past winners have hailed from Weston, Brookfield, New Glarus, La Crosse and Oshkosh.

The contest is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council, with major sponsorship provided by Boldt Company, IBM and Intrepid Charitable Partners. Supporters of the contest include: Wisconsin Technical College System, E-seedling, Colony Brands, Nasco, Department of Financial Institutions, Department of Public Instruction, the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, Make a Difference Wisconsin, Project Lead the Way Wisconsin, STEM Forward, Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers and Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials. 

The Wisconsin Technology Council is the independent, non-profit and non-partisan science and technology adviser to the Governor and the Legislature. It serves as a catalyst for tech-based economic development in Wisconsin through programs such as the Tech Council Investor Networks, the Governor’s Business Plan Contest and the Tech Council Innovation Network.