Apr 13, 2020

Finalists in Gov’s Biz Plan Contest poised to be part of economic recovery post-COVID

Source: WTC

MADISON, Wis. – Twenty-eight entries representing sectors as broad as health technologies and innovations in products or services are competing in the finalist round of the 17th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

The contestants have survived two rounds of judging in the contest organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its sponsors and volunteers.

“It will be young companies such as those advancing in this year’s contest that will help to lead the economic recovery once COVID-19 recedes in Wisconsin and elsewhere,” said Greg Lynch, chairman of the Tech Council and a partner at the law firm of Michael Best. “Our class of 2020 includes finalists in life sciences, advanced manufacturing, consumer products and IT, making them a microcosm of Wisconsin’s strengths.”

Advanced manufacturing ideas include a bicycle transmission; a “green” cleaning product that can protect surfaces for up to three days; a helmet for contact sports; an automated way to lubricate bicycle chains in motion; a modular hunting blind; on-site, on-demand hydrogen production; and more.

Plans tied to business services include a 3D manufacturing process that can be used to make violins – or safety masks; safety clothing for women; a multi-state scheduling system for court reporters and videographers; a software activated lock; and more.

Life sciences plans include a syringe adapter that increases dose accuracy; a platform for drug release that can cover months instead of days; a low-cost diagnostic to identify the DNA of seven gastrointestinal pathogens within 30 minutes; a device to help diabetics rotate insulin injection points; and more.

Information technology plans include wireless solutions for the audio-visual industry; a system that uses artificial intelligence to predict highly accurate picks for professional sports games; a platform to help smaller firms compete with larger companies by better controlling their advertising and digital media; and more.

Eight of the 28 finalists are women and 16 of 28 hail from outside Dane County.

Finalists will submit 15- to 20-page business plans for review by a panel of more than 100 judges. Each plan describes the core product or service, defines the customer base, estimates the size of the market, identifies competition, list members of the management team and provides key financial data. Finalists are also encouraged to provide feedback from a potential or current customer.

The “Diligent Dozen,” or top 12 business plans announced in late May, will give an oral presentation that can be viewed by contest judges and conference attendees at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on a digital platform in June. Category winners, as well as the 2020 Grand Prize Winner, will be announced during the conference. More information on the conference will be available in the coming weeks at witrepsconference.com.

Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, information technology consulting, marketing, event space and more. About $2.2 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded since the inception of the contest in 2004. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is a major sponsor.

Additional lead sponsors of the 2020 contest thus far include Additional lead sponsors of the 2020 contest thus far include: 3Rhino Media; American Transmission Company; AT&T; Eppstein Uhen Architects; Michael Best; Pieper Properties; Quarles & Brady; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE; StartingBlock; University Research Park; Ward4; 6 AM Marketing; ; Associate sponsors include Aberdean Consulting; Whitewater University Technology Park; Murphy Desmond; Spencer X Smith and AmpliPhi. Additional sponsors are Applied Management; Versiti; Irontek; Madison Gas & Electric; Marshfield Clinic Health System; Reverbal Communications; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

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