Past Winners

2015 Grand Prize Winner:

P1120725Elizabeth Hlavacka, an 8th grader at Aquinas Middle School in La Crosse, is the grand prize winner in Wisconsin YES!, a statewide youth business plan contest for students in middle and high school.

Hlavacka got the idea for her Stuff’n with Noth’n product after realizing the number of plastic bags her family used to pack school lunches. This led her to consider alternative ways to wrap lunch items. Her idea is a reusable, eco-friendly container with uniquely designed compartments that eliminate the need for plastic bags. When the product is unfolded, it can act as a placemat allowing the user to eat almost anywhere.

Hlavacka presented her winning idea June 3 at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison during the awards luncheon for the Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

In addition to taking steps to create a product from her business idea, Hlavacka plays volleyball, soccer and competes year-round in basketball. She is completing her Silver Award in Girl Scouts and is a 4H member. She will participate in the junior goat show at the La Crosse County Fair this summer. Hlavacka is interested in studying veterinary/animal science or business in college. She will attend Aquinas High School in the fall.

2014 Grand Prize Winner:

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Jonah Thompson, an 8th grader at New Glarus Middle School developing a beekeeping-related company, was the grand prize winner in Wisconsin YES!, a youth business plan contest for students in middle and high school.

Thompson produces honey, beeswax and candles, while offering pollination services for local Green County farmers. His business, T Boys Honey, offers a new winter bee box and a pollinator software concept to assist farmers with understanding the economic impact a hive may have on crop yields.

T Boys Honey currently manages four pollinator contracts in Green County. Thompson is a member of the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association.

Thompson, a self-taught bee keeper with more than five years of experience, presented his plan to about 300 people at the 2014 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in
Madison during the awards luncheon for the Governor’s Business Plan Contest on June 4. He will attend New Glarus High School in the fall.


2013 Grand Prize Winner:

DSC_1032Sara Linderman, an 8th grader at Pilgrim Park Middle School and a resident of Brookfield, was the grand prize winner of the 2013 Wisconsin YES!, a youth business plan contest for students in middle and high school.

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.


2012 Grand Prize Winner:

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Tyler Ebert, a June graduate of D.C. Everest High School in Schofield and a resident of Weston, was the grand prize winner  of the 2012 Wisconsin YES!, a youth business plan contest for students in middle school and high school.

Ebert won with a business plan for Citadel Systems Security, a computer security company. He presented his plan to more than 250 people at the 2012 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee during the awards luncheon for the Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Ebert founded and served as captain of his high school Finance and Investment Team and was a finalist in the Wisconsin Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl for three consecutive years. He worked as an apprentice at a Marathon County credit union. Ebert planned to attend the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management after graduation.


2010 Grand Prize Winner:

Nelson Auner, who graduated in June from Madison East High School, was the 2010 Grand Prize winner in the second Dane County YES! youth business plan contest.

Auner’s business plan was to launch “Babel Tube,” which would use internet technology to connect native speakers with customers on a daily basis. It would be marketed to young professionals, students and casual language learners. With BabelTube, users can create a profile listing the languages in which they are fluent and which languages they would like to learn. Using a virtual currency called “Babelcash,” users can both “hire” tutors as well as earn Babelcash by teaching others.

Auner’s business plan entry was chosen among four other contest finalist ideas from Sun Prairie and Monona.


2009 Grand Prize Winner:

Caroline Barry, from Middleton High School, was the 2009 Grand Prize winner in the first Dane County YES! youth business plan contest. The contest is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and funded by the Madison Community Foundation and other sponsors.

Barry’s solar-powered water purifier for use in developing countries was the top plan among the many entries submitted to the web-based business plan contest. The plan has earned a $2,000 cash prize award.

The business plan entry, which included a working prototype, was chosen among four other contest finalist ideas from the Sun Prairie, Waunakee and Madison school districts. The six-month contest was open to middle school and high school students in Dane County’s 16 public school districts, as well as students in the county’s private schools and in “home school” settings.

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