The 10th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is accepting entries online for the 2013 competition through January 31, 2013.
The contest is designed to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into business plans, to prepare them to launch a company, to get feedback from mentors and to interact with investors and other professionals. Finalists will share in more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.
For their initial entries, contestants will submit 250-word idea abstracts online at http://www.govsbizplancontest.com. That’s where contestants will also find business plan templates and other information, such as the Entrepreneurs’ Toolkit. The toolkit (at http://witoolkit.com) 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.
Since its inception in 2004, more than 2,300 entries have been received and about $1.5 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 Sciences.
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.
The 2012 grand prize winner was Rowheels, which won the Advanced Manufacturing category with its geared wheeling system that allows a wheelchair to be pulled forward by its user rather than the traditional pushing motion. The technology requires less effort by users while reducing strain on shoulders, joints and muscles. Category winners in 2012 were Style Shuffler (Business Services), Strategic Fishing Systems (Information Technology) and Reza-Band (Life Sciences).
To enter, become a judge or a sponsor, visit http://www.govsbizplancontest.com.