Wisconsin Technology Council: Dane County youth business plan contest will take entries online through Jan. 31

Contact: Tom Still or Liz Schrum at 608-442-7557

To learn more, visit: http://www.DaneCountyYES.com

MADISON – Students in Dane County high schools and middle schools can now enter online to take part in a technology-based business plan contest. Entries will be accepted through 5 p.m. Jan. 31, 2010. Judges and sponsors are also being recruited for the second annual “Youth Entrepreneurs in Science” contest.

For initial entries, students will submit idea abstracts of up to 250 words online at http://www.DaneCountyYES.com. Students who participate in the contest will learn more about starting a business, get a leg up on post-secondary education and compete for prizes while doing it.

Patterned after the statewide Governor’s Business Plan Contest, Dane County Youth Entrepreneurs in Science – Dane County YES! – is being produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council with the help of a two-year grant from the Madison Community Foundation.

Cash and in-kind prizes will be awarded in mid-2010 to contest winners selected in four grade categories: middle school through ninth grade, 10th grade, 11th grade and 12th grade. Last year’s winner, Carolyn Barry of Madison, won $2,000. Ten other contestants received prizes, as well.

This multi-stage contest will help students to better envision careers in science and technology, and especially where those disciplines intersect with the creation and growth of businesses. The definition for a “tech-based business plan” will be broad. For example, a web-based business may qualify.

“Building a more entrepreneurial and tech-savvy workforce is a challenge not only for Dane County and Wisconsin, but for the nation as a whole as it struggles to produce a globally competitive pool of workers,” said Tom Still, president of the Tech Council.

Judging will be conducted in stages, with a numerical scoring system spread across the major parts of a business plan. Templates will be available online. Judges drawn from the worlds of finance, sales, marketing, research and specific technology sectors will score the entries and provide feedback.

Dane County students in high school or middle school are eligible to enter either individually or in small teams. Students may enter multiple ideas, so long as each idea is separate and distinct.

Participating Dane County School Districts and private schools include but are not limited to Belleville, Cambridge, Deerfield, DeForest, Madison, Marshall, McFarland, Middleton-Cross Plains, Monona Grove, Mount Horeb, Oregon, Stoughton, Sun Prairie, Verona, Waunakee, Wisconsin Heights, Abundant Life Christian School, Edgewood High School and Madison Country Day School and others.

To become a judge, contact Lindsay Ludeman at [email protected].

To become a prize sponsor, contact Liz Schrum at [email protected].

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 Wisconsin Angel Network, the Governor’s Business Plan Contest and the Wisconsin Innovation Network.

The Madison Community Foundation encourages, facilitates and manages long-term philanthropy. Since 1942, the foundation staff has helped people realize their philanthropic goals, allowing them to support charitable interests anywhere in the world. The community foundation also awards grants throughout Dane County to build communities. More information is available online at: http://www.madisoncommunityfoundation.org.

Sponsors of the contest in 2009 were: American TV, Culver’s, 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.