MADISON – The 11th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan
Contest is accepting entries online for the 2014
competition until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. 

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 60 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, which has been redesigned to streamline contestant applications. 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 2,600 entries have
been received and about $1.7 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 2014 competition will take place
in stages:

  • In Phase 1, which is open until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan.
    31, 2014, 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 on a scale of 1-10 by the pool of BPC judges.
    The top 50 idea abstracts will advance to Phase 2.
  • In Phase 2, which runs from Feb. 24 to 5 p.m. March
    17, 2014, 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 7 to 5 p.m. April 28, 2014, 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 3 at
    the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

Past finalists have launched companies that have attracted at
least $70 million in grants, loans and private equity financing – all while
creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin. The contest’s major sponsors
include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The 2013 grand prize winner was NitricGen
Inc., which won the Life Sciences category with its patented shoe box-sized device that produces nitric oxide from room
air to treat chronic foot ulcers, a serious complication of diabetes. The
device electrically creates a flow of nitric oxide gas to be applied by the
patient. Category winners in 2013 were V-Glass (Advanced Manufacturing),
Balanz (Business Services) and Gristmill Studios (Information Technology).

To enter, become a judge or a sponsor, visit

Read more on the following sites:
Leader Telegram
Superior Telegram
Sun Prairie Star
The Business Journal
Wisconsin State Journal
Appleton Post Crescent
The Dunn County News
Oshkosh Northwestern
Fond du Lac Reporter
Onalaska-Holmen Courier Life
Merrill Foto News
Door County Advocate