2015 ‘Wisconsin YES!’ open for middle, high school entries through April 6

Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs in Science, a statewide youth business plan contest modeled after the successful Governor’s Business Plan Contest, is open for online entries from Wisconsin middle- and high-school students through 5 p.m. April 6, 2015.

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 IBM and WEA Trust. Additional support is provided by the Wisconsin Technical College System. 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. 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.

Place finishers in each category – 9th grade and under, 10th grade, 11th grade and 12th grade – are eligible for cash and prizes. The grand prize winner has the opportunity to present their winning idea at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison on June 2-3.

The Wisconsin Technology Council is the independent, non-profit and non-partisan science and technology adviser to the Governor and the Legislature. It serves as a catalyst for tech-based economic development in Wisconsin through programs such as the Wisconsin Angel Network, the Governor’s Business Plan Contest and the Wisconsin Innovation Network.

To enter the contest or for more information on sponsorship and partnership opportunities, visit www.WisconsinYES.com or contact Joy Sawatzki at the Wisconsin Technology Council, jsawatzki@wisconsintechnologycouncil.com or 608-442-7557.

New Glarus Middle School student wins ‘Wisconsin YES!’

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

25 entries advance to second phase in ‘Wisconsin YES!’ contest

May 1, 2014

MADISON – A statewide panel of judges have selected 25 entries to advance to Phase 2 of Wisconsin YES!, a youth business plan contest for students in middle school and high school.    Read More

Middle and high school students can enter Wisconsin YES by 5 p.m. March 17

March 10, 2014

MADISON – The statewide Wisconsin YES! youth business plan contest will close to entries 5 p.m. Monday, March 17. Read More

Inside Wis: Amid debate over Common Core, STEM consensus offers lesson

March 7, 2014

By Tom Still

MADISON – Although it’s a safe bet most people in Wisconsin know little if anything about the debate over nationwide academic standards, the so-called “Common Core” guidelines under fire in the Legislature, they’ve probably heard of STEM education.

That’s an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, a collection of subjects that many experts, parents and business leaders believe should be taught more in American schools as a matter of global competency in a competitive age.

In fact, STEM is so relatively accepted that the original acronym has spawned at least two variations – STEAM, which adds arts to the mix to promote creativity and design thinking skills, and ESTEAM, which folds in entrepreneurship and the notion of applying STEM knowledge to solve real-world problems.

Gov. Scott Walker and others may have their problems with Wisconsin’s Common Core standards, which have been in the works since 2009, but when it comes to STEM education, his office proclaimed next week as “STEM Week” in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction recently rolled out a modest grants program for schools that want to enhance STEM programs, and many statewide groups are working to make science, technology, engineering and math a bigger part of the curriculum. Read More