06 Apr From social media to health tech to drones, Biz Plan Contest finalists show state’s tech range
Twenty-six entries representing sectors as broad as social media, health technologies and innovations in products or services are competing in the finalist round of the 14th 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. A lead sponsor is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
“These finalists are emblematic of Wisconsin’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Toni Sikes, Tech Council chairwoman. “Few contests can blend together industries as varied as life sciences, composting, speech therapy and drones.”
Software and business service plans include a mobile application to enable physical therapists to create and send instructional videos to patients; software to provide unbiased Medicare enrollment guidance; an apparatus to induce blinking while using a computer to prevent Computer Vision Syndrome; training software for managing commercial drone operations; software that integrates e-logs, tracking and scheduling with freight trucks; cloud-based software to solve core business problems around organizational culture; to conduct aerial mapping and surveying via drone; and to remove compostable products. Entries focused on social or educational innovations include platforms to save family photos and videos in one place for future generations; to scan public meeting minutes to find actionable sales insights; to exchange contact information for both business and social settings; to establish online science labs for education based on interactive videos for students; and to conduct online speech therapy.
Manufacturing ideas include nanogenerators for sustainable energy generation from human body movement; a combination of a pepper-spray pistol and electrical stun-gun weapon; a blend between a pontoon boat and a hovercraft; an eight-directional compass that firefighters can use in low-visibility conditions; safer batteries with higher storage capacity and energy for electric vehicles; a flood barrier system that can deploy within hours; and an “active Ottoman” for muscle regeneration and pain relief.
Health-related plans include a line of medical foods that will improve quality of life for patients with a feeding tube; an extended release drug that ends opiate addiction without the side effects of withdrawal; an infrared light that targets tumors and spares healthy tissue; an injectable drug that regenerates and retains cell properties in cardiac cases; a process for more effective processing and storage of biological samples; and a nasal spray that prevents the aftermath of a stroke to be used after a clot is removed.
The contest began in late January with 172 entries. To be eligible for the contest, participants cannot have raised more than $25,000 from professional angel and venture capital investors by the start of the contest.
Finalists will submit 15- to 20-page business plans for review by a panel of more than 85 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 present in front of a panel of judges and conference attendees at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 6 at Union South in Madison. Category winners, as well as the 2017 Grand Prize Winner, will be announced during the BPC Awards Luncheon on June 8. More information on the conference will be available in the coming weeks at www.witrepsconference.com.
Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, information technology consulting, marketing, prototyping, web design, 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.