Wis. Tech Council: Governor’s 2nd Annual Business Plan Contest Kicks Off


Tom Still or Marlene Smith at the Tech Council (608-442-7557)
or Allen Veak at Makin’ Hey! Communications (608-848-5831)
Web site: www.govsbizplancontest.com

MADISON – After a successful 2004 debut that attracted more than 330 entries from 101 Wisconsin communities, the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is underway for the 2005 competition year.

To learn more about how entrepreneurs can compete in a statewide contest that features cash and in-kind prizes, mentoring and long-term business opportunities, please go to www.govsbizplancontest.com for rules and details.

The contest is being produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Innovation Network, with support from a number of sponsors, partners and affiliates.

Contestants may enter one of four categories: life sciences, information technology, advanced manufacturing or business services. The common thread running through the contest is that all ideas must somehow leverage technology to build a business. Multiple entries are allowed.

The initial application period runs until 5 p.m. Jan. 31, 2005. During this first phase, the contest will accept idea abstracts (250 words or less) only through the web site. Judges will pay special attention to the innovative nature of the product or service, customer definition, market size and the competitive advantage within that market, and sales and marketing strategy.

The mission of the statewide contest is to encourage entrepreneurs in the creation, start-up and early-growth stages of high-growth businesses in Wisconsin. Participants have the chance to win seed capital and valuable services that will help them launch their businesses, as well as enhance the state’s economic development.

In 2004, the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest was cited in many state, regional and national publications, and was recognized as the only statewide, technology-based plan in the United States.

“The quality of competition in the 2004 contest supported my belief that Wisconsin has the ideas and the entrepreneurs necessary to succeed in the 21st century economy. This contest will help ideas grow into companies and to create jobs,” Gov. Jim Doyle said.

Wisconsin residents 18 years old and older are eligible, as are teams from Wisconsin-based businesses and organizations. Last year, 234 individuals or teams – people ranging in age from college students to retirees — entered the contest.

Here’s how the process will work:

n In the “Business Concepts” phase, which runs until 5 p.m., Jan. 31, 2005, the contest will accept IDEA Abstracts only on the web site. IDEA abstracts are 250-word business concepts that will be graded on a scale of 1-10 (10 highest) by our panel of judges. At least 50 IDEA Abstract presenters will be asked to write a Summary Business Plan. All 50 will receive a congratulatory letter from the governor and the Tech Council.
n In the “Summary Business Plan” phase, which begins Feb. 16 and runs to 5 p.m. March 15, 2005, the top 50 or more IDEA Abstract presenters post their five-page summaries (1,250 words) online for comments by the judges. Contestants may be encouraged to revise their plans based on judges’ comments. At least 20 plan summaries are selected for the final round. All 20 receive a congratulatory award.
n In the “Final Business Plan” phase, which runs from April 1 to 5 p.m. May 1, 2005, the top 20 Summary Plan presenters prepare final plans for judging. Limited comments and mentoring continues. Judges will review the plans and pick up to three place winners in each category.
n The top four category winners will present their plans at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, and a grand prize winner will be announced there.

The contest is seeking contestants, judges and sponsors. Please contact Marlene Smith at 608-442-7557 or at [email protected] if you are interested in being considered.

Prize sponsors in 2004 were: The Wisconsin Department of Commerce; Mason Wells Private Equity; American Transmission Co.; Oracle; the law firm of Michael, Best & Friedrich; the construction firm of J. P. Cullen & Sons Inc.; API Software Inc.; the law firm of Axley Brynelson; Urbantec Catalyst LLC/Network 222; and the Wisconsin Technology Council.

At its core, the Governor’s Business Plan is a celebration of the greatest game on earth – business. To learn more, go to www.govsbizplancontest.com and find out how you can move that business plan off the shelf and into the marketplace.