The 17th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is accepting entries online for the 2020 competition until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

The contest links up-and-coming entrepreneurs with a statewide network of community resources, expert advice and mentoring, management talent and possible sources of capital. More than 100 judges drawn from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the entries and provide feedback on submissions.

The contest is designed to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses by guiding them through the development of their business plans as they advance through the competition process.

In Phase 1, contestants will submit brief abstracts to be graded by a pool of judges drawn from the state’s finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors. The top 50 ideas that advance to Phase 2 will have the opportunity to attend a mentored “boot camp” in early March before submitting their executive summary for the next round.

In Phase 3, the companies that submitted the top 20 executive summaries will be invited to prepare full business plans, before the top 12 “Diligent Dozen” square off in the final phase with oral presentations during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 4 in Milwaukee.

Since its inception in 2004, the contest has awarded $2.4 million in cash and in-kind services such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing. Past finalists have raised more than $200 million in investment, all while creating jobs and economic value in Wisconsin. The contest is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and its major sponsors include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The 2019 grand prize winner was Stoughton’s GrowthChart, an app for the Google Home platform that allows child care providers to verbally manage, document and access child records, reducing administrative time and increasing time spent with students. 2019’s other category winners were Templar Industries (advanced manufacturing), Blexx Technologies (business services) and Otologic Technologies (life sciences).

To enter the 2020 contest, visit Entries will be accepted online until 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. Entrants may not have received angel or venture capital in their current form and must be Wisconsin residents, Wisconsin-based companies or companies from outside the state that can demonstrate their intent to expand their business in Wisconsin.