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UW Extension hosts Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament finals

April 1, 2015

The UW Extension and partners invite the business community and general public to support Wisconsin’s young entrepreneurs at the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament contest, in person or via live online streaming, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on April 11 at the Pyle Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

“We especially encourage UW students, staff and faculty to watch the finals this year and see the Lean Startup commercialization process in action,” said Mark Lange, executive director of UW Extension’s Division for Business and Entrepreneurship. “We’re excited to see the growth in the number of campuses participating and the quality of teams from year one to year two of this tournament.”

Teams from UW-River Falls, UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville and UW-Whitewater will have 15 minutes each to present their validated business idea, such as a web-based cultural fit analysis tool, rapid prototyping technology for metalwork and portable power bank with inductive charging for mobile devices.

The Lean Startup process and idea will be judged by Scott Mosely, director of investment strategies, The Water Council; Molly Lahr, senior analyst, American Family Investments; and Dan Blake, partner, HealthX Ventures.

In addition to moving on to the international level of the competition, the top finishers also will be eligible for up to $25,000 through the Ideavance Seed Fund, a UW Extension program created by the UW System and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Initial support for the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament includes a matching grant provided by UW System, program management by the UW Extension and a partnership with the International Business Model Competition. Additional sponsors include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and American Family Insurance.

Also, 10 teams of UW System student entrepreneurs will compete to represent the state on May 1-2 in Provo, Utah, at the International Business Model Competition, where $100,000 in awards will be distributed.