‘Wisconsin YES!’ student business plan contest
open for middle, high school entries through March 17
Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs in Science, a statewide youth business plan contest, is open for online entries from Wisconsin middle- and high-school students through 5 p.m. March 17, 2014.
Public, private and home-schooled students across Wisconsin are eligible to turn their science- and tech-related ideas into business plans and compete for cash and prizes. The contest begins with a 250-word summary submitted through the website. Entries that advance to Phase 2 of the competition will expand their idea into a 1,000-word executive summary. Throughout the process, students get feedback from professionals across Wisconsin who will serve as judges.
As a tool for educators, Wisconsin YES! fosters interest in science and tech education and encourages students to be independent, creative thinkers capable of problem solving.
“Leveraging technology, thinking creatively and working as a team are all important characteristics for today’s entrepreneurs,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “Entrepreneurial skills are vital to the long-term success of Wisconsin’s youth as well as the state’s innovation economy.”
The Tech Council produces the contest, with major sponsorship from WEA Trust and IBM. Contest partners thus far include Department of Financial Institutions, Department of Public Instruction, Make a Difference Wisconsin, Project Lead the Way Wisconsin, STEM Forward, Wisconsin Association of School Boards and Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers.
To get started, students need to create a simple account at www.WisconsinYES.com. All entries are submitted through the website, which has been redesigned to streamline the application process. Students use their account to gain access to the judges’ comments and feedback. Templates and sample entries for both phases are available on the website, along with other entrepreneurial resources.
Students are able to work in teams or as individuals and will be judged based upon their grade level, with the oldest team member determining the team category. Students or teams may enter multiple ideas.
Sara Linderman, an 8th grader at Pilgrim Park Middle School and a resident of Brookfield, was the grand prize winner of the 2013 contest. Linderman won with a business plan for SongJudge, a music app that allows musicians to select a song, record a performance and receive a score based on accuracy, tone, articulation, volume and tempo. Linderman, who plays the flute, came up with the idea as she looked for a way to objectively determine her performance ability as she prepared for competitions and auditions.
Linderman presented her plan to about 300 people at the 2013 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Middleton during the awards luncheon for the Governor’s Business Plan Contest on June 5.
To enter the contest or learn more, visit www.WisconsinYES.com.