MADISON, Wis. – The 19th Annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Competition is accepting online entries for the 2022 competition until 5 p.m. Monday, January 31, 2022.
New this year: Round 3 of the competition will accept annotated pitch decks from finalists who advance beyond the written abstract round.
The competition is designed to encourage entrepreneurs at the start-up stage of technology businesses in Wisconsin. It connects promising entrepreneurs to a network of statewide community resources, expert advice and mentorship, management talent and possible sources of capital.
Over time, the competition has led to valuable public and media exposure for the best business plans and spurred Wisconsin’s economic growth. In 2021, finalists shared over $125,000 in cash and service prizes.
For their initial entries, contestants will submit a 250-word (approximately 2,000 character) idea summary online at govsbizplancontest.com. Attendees will also find business plan templates, start-up information, networking contacts and technical resources from a mix of state and national resources on the website.
Competitors who move on to subsequent rounds of competition will expand their plan in stages. Approximately 80 volunteer judges drawn from Wisconsin’s finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors will score entries and provide feedback on submissions.
To get started, contestants need to create a simple account at govsbizplancontest.com. All entries are submitted via the website. Contestants use their account to gain access to mentors throughout the process, as well as to review comments and feedback from judges.
Since its inception in 2004, over 4,300 applications have been received and approximately $2.5 million in cash and services (such as legal, accounting, office and marketing) have been awarded. The competition categories are advanced manufacturing, business services, information technology and life sciences.
Wisconsin residents 18 and older are eligible, as are teams from Wisconsin-based businesses and organizations. Out-of-state businesses or teams are also eligible to compete if they demonstrate an intent to base or expand their business in Wisconsin. Entrepreneurs can also enter multiple ideas, although each idea must be separate and distinct.
Companies or individuals who have not received angel or venture capital for their business plan in its current form are eligible to participate. There is no charge to enter. As with previous competitions, the 2022 competition will take place in stages:
- In phase 1, which is open until 5 p.m. on Sundays, January 31, 2022, the competition will accept abstracts of ideas on the website. Entries should be approximately 250 words (or no more than 2,000 characters including spaces) and will be scored by the BPC judging panel. The top 50 idea summaries will move on to phase 2.
- In Phase 2, which runs from February 18 at 5 p.m. March 12, 2022, the top 50 idea summaries will submit an executive summary. The top 20 executive summaries will move on to Phase 3. A mentored “boot camp” for the candidates will take place during this phase.
- In Phase 3, which runs from April 4 at 5 p.m. April 25, 2022, the 20 best executive summaries will prepare “pitch decks” with a voice-over of a maximum duration of 15 minutes. Judges will review the videos and choose three finalists in each of four categories to advance to the final round of live presentation. Supervised training sessions will be offered to the top 12 at the end of May.
The top 12, or “Diligent Dozen”, will compete with live presentations at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference in June 2022.
Past finalists have launched companies that have raised more than $300 million in angel loans, venture capital, grants and venture capital over time, while creating jobs and economic value for Wisconsin . The main sponsors of the competition are the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
The big winner for 2021 was Medical atrility, a Madison-based company, which has a device that facilitates more effective monitoring and treatment of atrial arrhythmia, which is a rhythm disturbance that can be difficult to detect with current equipment. The category winners in 2021 were SmartWell (advanced manufacturing), eCourt Journalists (business services), Disturbed nurse (Information Technology) and Medical atrility (Life sciences).
To enter, become a judge, or learn more about sponsorship opportunities, visit govsbizplancontest.com.