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MADISON – Caroline Barry, who recently graduated from Middleton High School, is the Grand Prize winner in the first Dane County YES! youth business plan contest. The contest is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and funded by the Madison Community Foundation and other sponsors.

Barry’s solar-powered water purifier for use in developing countries was the top plan among the many entries submitted to the web-based business plan contest. The plan has earned a $2,000 cash prize award.

The business plan entry, which included a working prototype, was chosen among four other contest finalist ideas from the Sun Prairie, Waunakee and Madison school districts. The six-month contest was open to middle school and high school students in Dane County’s 16 public school districts, as well as students in the county’s private schools and in “home school” settings.

The Dane County Youth Entrepreneurs in Science (YES!) contest guides students in exploring business creativity though entrepreneurship, while teaching financial literacy and providing opportunities to interact with knowledgeable business professionals. The contest directs students and small teams though the process of turning bright ideas into business plans in an online contest format.

“We really think all of the finalists and semi-finalists were winners, because they each took the time to build their business plans from simple ideas to potential enterprises,” said Ryann Petit-Frere, who managed the project for the Tech Council. “We’re looking forward to another strong round of entries in 2010.”

In addition to Barry the 2009 finalists were:

Nelson Auner, junior, Madison East High School: Wisfridge – An energy efficient, refrigeration system that utilizes frigid outdoor temperatures to cool items indoors.

Danielle Breidung, senior, Waunakee High School:  Costumbres Argentinas – A service that offers Americans customizable cultural Argentine experiences that start with living with an Argentine host family and can grow to include volunteer and tourism opportunities.

Seth Sullivan, 8th grade, Prairie View Middle School, Sun Prairie: Item Tracker – A system and device utilizing ultrasonic technology to locate items tagged with electronic identifiers.

2009 semi-finalists were:

Nicholas Ashley      Green Landscaping Service      Madison
Ryan Budziszewski      Club Inferno      Waunakee
Abby Buechner      Door Bells Wedding chapel      Madison
Aidan Combs      GummyShield      Stoughton
Shreya Dahal      Hand Sanitizer & Moisturizer      Madison
Max Fergus      Bank for Kids      Middleton
Annie Fergus      Edible Food Tape      Verona
Alexander Francis      ITAVillage      Madison
Weston Knutson      Vending Machine      Madison
Dylan Maier      Wild Hog      Madison
Peter Maillefer      The “Help” Hotline      Sun Prairie
Matthew Mauer      Zerin      Middleton
Elizabeth Milovets      Ball Bin      Cottage Grove
Mark O’Malley      BGone Golf Ball Elevator      DeForest
Brian O’Malley      Golf Ball Tracker      Madison
Mark Werner      Ice Dam Prevention System      Waunakee
Max Lein      Online Newspaper      Madison
Sponsors of the first Dane County YES! contest were: American TV, Culvers, Optimist Club of Downtown Madison, Irwin and Robert Goodman, Inacom Information Systems, Nicholas and Elaine Mischler, Ultrazone Laser Tag, University Research Park, the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Madison Community Foundation.