Friday, December 5, 2008

Dane County YES Seeks Business Plan Entries from Sun Prairie High School Youth (Wisconsin Technology Council)

What is Dane County YES?
Youth Entrepreneurs in Science, or Dane County YES, is a youth version of the successful Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which recently completed its fifth year. YES will bring Dane County youth, educators and people working in the region’s commercial tech sectors together in a contest forum. Contestants will be challenged to develop innovative tech-based business solutions across a broad range of technologies.

What’s the goal of a business plan contest for young people?
It will help young people learn how science and technology innovations can be developed into solid business plans. This multi-stage, primarily online contest will help middle- and/or high-school students to better envision careers in science and technology, and especially where those disciplines intersect with the creation and growth of businesses.

We’ll interpret a tech-based business plan broadly. For example, a web-based business may qualify.

Building a more entrepreneurial and tech-savvy workforce is a challenge not only for Dane County and Wisconsin, but the United States as a whole as the nation struggles to produce a globally competitive pool of workers. One current example is the emerging gap between jobs in the information technology sector and the number of anticipated graduates in that field. By 2012, according to industry and UW-Madison estimates, there will be four available IT jobs for every graduate.

Who may enter the contest?
Students, or small teams of students, who attend middle and high schools in Dane County. The contest will be judged according to class categories: 9th grade and under, 10th grade, 11th grade and 12th grade. It will be conducted in stages, with a numerical scoring system spread across the eight major parts of a business plan.

Why should I enter?
For starters, you may win valuable cash or in-kind prizes to be awarded to place winners in each category.

But there’s more. Entering will help you transcend classroom learning by engaging in a hands-on exercise that applies what you have learned. You will increase your understanding of entrepreneurial principles and business leadership. You will learn about careers in STEM professions, and you may attract the eye of business leaders in need of promising interns.

You will attend a seminar, conducted by Wisconsin Technology Council staff and judges, which will serve as a “boot camp” for business plan writing.

There will be opportunities to measure how students improve in their understanding of what it takes to write a solid business plan.

What’s the basic timeline?

December 5, 2008 – First day 250-word entries can be posted on our website.
Jan. 31, 2009 – Deadline for contest entries; judging process begins
February 2009 – Hold “boot camp” for student entrepreneurs.
March 2009 – Begin second phase of contest; about 1,000 words in eight categories.
April 2009 – Close second phase and begin judging of business plan executive summaries.
May 2009 – Judging complete; hold “final four” oral presentations to select grand prize winner.
June 9-10, 2009 – Announce winners at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference.
June-July 2009 – Award prizes and conduct follow-up surveys.

This project is being funded by the Madison Community Foundation.

Click here for more information on the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Innovation Network.

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