Statewide conference enables minority, woman, veteran and LGBTQ business owners to meet government and corporate buyers and connect with business resources

MADISON, WI. SEPT. 3, 2021 ­­– The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is hosting the 40th annual MARKETPLACE – Governor’s Conference on Diverse Business Development for minority-, woman-, veteran- and LGBTQ-owned businesses Dec. 7 virtually and in person Dec. 8 and 9 at the Wisconsin Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee.

With U.S. Bank as the Keystone Sponsor, the conference kicks off virtually the afternoon of Dec. 7 with The Contracting Academy (TCA) for established businesses looking to grow and develop their government sales. These virtual sessions will provide technical training and information for those businesses developing or expanding their involvement in state, local and federal contracting.

The Economic Opportunity Session featuring current, high profile business opportunities in the region will be held in person the afternoon of Dec. 8 at the Wisconsin Center. A networking reception will follow recognizing the impact and legacy of diverse-owned businesses.

On Dec. 9, the Governor’s Awards Breakfast will start the day, followed by the opening of Expo Hall, where attendees can meet one-on-one with potential buyers, connect with business lenders, view exhibits and network with other business owners. At lunchtime, attendees will celebrate MARKETPLACE’s 40th Anniversary with a program sharing the conference’s journey and successes. The Expo Hall and one-on-one buyer meetings will resume after the program.

Registration is now open. The general attendance cost is $80 for both days, with a $25 additional fee for the Dec. 8 evening reception. Minority-, woman-, veteran- and LGBTQ-owned businesses receive a discount with a general attendance rate of $60 and a $20 fee for the evening reception.

Until Oct. 25, all attendees are eligible for a $20 early bird discount on attendance and $10 off the reception fee. This means minority-, woman-, veteran and LGBTQ-owned businesses can attend for as little as $40 with a $10 reception fee.

Buyers and supplier diversity managers from government agencies and private corporations

attending to meet potential suppliers can register at no charge. Exhibit booths are also available for $500, or at a discounted rate of $250 for state-certified minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses.

The conference is expected to draw more than 500 attendees.

MARKETPLACE – Governor’s Conference on Diverse Business Development is the premier annual statewide business capacity-building conference for minority, woman, veteran and LGBTQ business owners looking to do business with state, federal and local governments as well as the private sector. The conference provides opportunities for businesses to meet with dozens of potential buyers, identify funding sources, connect with business assistance resources and network with other businesses.

To register or for more information about MARKETPLACE, visit