Wisconsin has a full calendar of entrepreneurship events taking place across the state throughout 2019. These events range in focus from networking and camaraderie to connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and funding sources—and are well worth entrepreneurs taking time out of their busy schedules to attend. The calendar below includes events for the full year, with some dates still tentative for annual events that are held at about the same time each year.
Wisconsin Inno’s State of Innovation
After the success of its inaugural State of Innovation, Wisconsin Inno is following up with an event that will showcase companies from its 2019 “Startups to Watch” list and include panels and discussions. Attendees will include some of the state’s fastest-growing companies, as well as founders, venture capital partners, executives, academic advisers and more—all to talk about what’s going on in the local startup ecosystem, as well as emerging industries and categories.
Wisconsin Tech Summit
Lambeau Field, Green Bay
The Wisconsin Technology Council’s 2019 Tech Summit will bring together major companies and emerging firms in a setting that allows them to meet and explore likely business relationships around technology needs and innovation. Major companies will meet with emerging firms in a series of 15-minute strategic meetings, not unlike “speed dating” events, and hear about their innovative products and services tied to areas such as big data, connected devices and data analytics in multiple business sectors.
Startup Weekend Madison
Madison, venue TBD
The local version of this event that takes place in cities around the world brings together designers, developers, entrepreneurs and experts with diverse backgrounds and unique skill sets. Learn the basics of founding a startup through workshops for pitches, forming ideas and starting companies.
Startup Wisconsin Summit
Milwaukee, venue TBD
This event aims to share best practices, showcase Wisconsin’s startup scene and strengthen the statewide network of startup community leaders.
Date TBD, usually held in May
This community-based startup pitch platform helps develop “napkin” ideas into early-stage companies. Presenters have five minutes to pitch in front of judges and a live audience for the chance to win $2,000; semi-finalists move on to the Hatch regional finale in November. All ideas are welcome, but high-growth ideas with the potential to scale are especially being sought.
Designed for Wisconsin-based small business owners, entrepreneurs, startups, investors and creatives to learn, connect and take action, Kinnektor offers a multi-track lineup of inspiring keynotes and networking opportunities.
Venue 42, Milwaukee
This conference is one of the Midwest’s premier hands-on events for entrepreneurs of all experience levels. Attendees range from entrepreneurs developing their ideas to emerging company leaders who have already attracted angel and/or venture funding. The event also features panel discussions/seminars, as well as presentations by finalists in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest.
Since its successful launch, OnRamp Wisconsin has begun to offer a series of conferences geared toward innovators in specific industries. At each event, attendees get help finding potential sales channels, while established companies can connect with new and exciting opportunities in the entrepreneurial community. The event was launched by gener8tor and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to help startups in their earliest stages.
Forward Festival is Madison’s flagship technology and entrepreneurship festival. Attracting more than 5,000 attendees, it spans eight days packed with more than 40 events organized by and for entrepreneurs.
Wisconsin Biohealth Summit
Oct. 8 (tentative date)
BioForward’s annual summit serves as a platform for the state’s biohealth community to celebrate its successes and collaborate on what’s next for the booming industry. This event features dedicated networking time, business development opportunities, professional development workshops and more. Participating organizations have included GE Healthcare, FUJIFILM, UW-Madison, Illumina, Covance, Medical College of Wisconsin, the Dohmen Company, Aldevron, Exact Sciences and more.
Wisconsin Innovation Awards
Memorial Union, Madison
The Wisconsin Innovation Awards celebrate and inspire innovation by highlighting and honoring the development of groundbreaking ideas. The program is intended to encourage an environment of innovation by connecting and showcasing innovators throughout Wisconsin.
Startup Wisconsin Week
Locations throughout Wisconsin
Startup Wisconsin Week is a statewide effort to better connect high-growth startup communities around the state. Dozens of events are hosted in cities throughout the state to help entrepreneurs discover resources in their communities, highlight the importance of startups to the growth of Wisconsin’s economy, and showcase innovations developed by startup companies all around Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium
Monona Terrace, UW-Madison
The Early Stage Symposium is an opportunity to make presentations and meet with investors, along with other entrepreneurs and business leaders. The event brings together some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs for learning and networking. Attendees can participate in a variety of sessions, panel discussions and featured speaker presentations.
Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Wisconsin
Connect learning to action at this event that brings together women entrepreneurs, business owners, founders, executives, policymakers and change agents. Speakers, workshops and more will help attendees get ideas, gain practical skills and engage with fellow innovators.
MARKETPLACE, the Governor’s Conference on Minority Business Development
Date TBD, usually held in December
Potawatomi Hotel and Conference Center, Milwaukee
This two-day event focuses on the needs of minority-, woman- and veteran-owned companies, and includes insights on doing business with state, federal and local agencies as well as connecting with private sector customers. The event includes one-on-one meetings with private- and public-sector buyers and seminars on business assistance resources.