Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest opens opportunities

Kylie Jacobs, Assistant Biz & Tech Editor

Looking to be engaged in a five-month business competition that can lead to valuable public and media exposure for aspiring entrepreneurs? The Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is a yearly event that, with the help of professional mentors, can lead beginning entrepreneurs into a field of statewide resources, expert management and even possible capital.

Since beginning in 2004, the producers of this contest, Wisconsin Technology Council, have received over 3,900 entries in over 300 Wisconsin communities. To enter this contest, one’s idea must fit into one of four categories: Advanced Manufacturing, Life Sciences, Information Technology or Business Services. They then must write up a 250-word abstract idea for their plan and submit it to the contest.

Jignesh Patel, 2018 winner in Information Technology for ‘DataChat’, believes entering this contest is a fantastic way for beginning companies to refine and showcase who they are.

“The Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Competition is an impressive and well-organized event that brings the best Wisconsin has to offer all in one forum,” Patel said.

Wisconsin residents 18 years and older are eligible to enter this contest, as are teams from Wisconsin based businesses and organizations. There are four stages, leading up to the grand finale at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Contest on June 4 at Northwestern Mutual in Milwaukee.

In a statement given by the Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still, he is adamant that none of this competition could occur without the help of the many judges and mentors throughout the contest season.

“The success of our annual Governor’s Business Plan Contest doesn’t exist at all without the volunteers that graciously donate their time to judge the plans or mentor the startups,” Stills said.

The Business Plan Contest is run in three written plans, plus one final live presentation. The contest is run through an online portal, up until the final live stage. Finalists have won 2.2 million in cash and in-kind prizes. Out of all the finalists in this contest, over 75 percent remain in business today.

The contest is free to enter for all participants. There are also many networking opportunities for entrants, from mentors to potential investors to others with business experience.

For more information on the competition or creating an account to join the competition, check out www.govbizplancontest.com.