Joe Kirgues and Troy Vosseller, who launched gener8tor 10 years ago in Wisconsin and have guided its growth into one of the nation’s leading accelerator programs for young companies, will accept the “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education” award Nov. 9 at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium.

The event will be held in-person on Nov. 9-10 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison. General registration is also now open by clicking here!

Also known as the “Triple E” award, the designation was launched by the Wisconsin Technology Council to highlight the importance of teaching and mentoring entrepreneurs. The selection of Kirgues and Vosseller by the 2022 conference steering committee was based on:

  • Delivering outstanding quality in teaching entrepreneurship and/or mentoring entrepreneurs, in or out of the classroom
  • Stimulating innovative methods for teaching or mentoring entrepreneurs
  • Promoting entrepreneurial education and mentorship among scholars, policymakers, practitioners and others
  • Providing a significant contribution to the development of best practices in the field

Previous winners of the “Triple E” award are Tim Keane, an investor and entrepreneur who was one of the first college-level educators in Wisconsin to design courses around entrepreneurial studies; Thomas “Rock” Mackie, a scientist, entrepreneur and educator who has helped build an entrepreneurial culture on the UW-Madison campus; Jan Eddy, tech company founder and a tireless mentor of startups through her work on and off campus; Allen Dines, who has mentored entrepreneurs and helped instill a startup spirit in UW-Madison students and faculty; Terry Sivesind, a co-founder of MERLIN Mentors, a 14-year-old group with about 100 mentors to help young companies; Anne Smith, who launched the UW-Madison Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic; Lorrie Keating Heinemann, whose career has spanned a quarter-century of support for the startup and investing sectors in Wisconsin; and Joe Boucher, who has worked with hundreds of young companies, taught at the UW-Madison and pioneered Wisconsin’s limited liability company (LLC) law.

In its first year, gener8tor operated two, 12-week accelerator programs in Madison and Milwaukee and invested in 13 startups that raised more than $3 million in private capital at the time. Today, gener8tor has about 140 full-time employees; operates accelerators in more than 41 locations with more than $1.2 billion in total funding across 22 states and two countries. To date, nearly 940 startups have graduated from one of gener8tor’s 104 annual accelerator programs.

“Joe and Troy are successful entrepreneurs, investors and lawyers, to be sure, but they’re also mentors and teachers at heart,” said Tech Council President Tom Still. “It’s a big part of what makes them a deserving duo for this year’s Triple E award.”

The investors attending thus far include: 4490 Ventures, Ardent Group, Baird Capital, Bascom Ventures, BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Capital Midwest Fund, Chippewa Valley Angel Investors Network, gener8tor, Golden Angels Investors, Great North Labs, HealthX Ventures, Idea Fund of La Crosse, Inventure Capital, Laerdal Million Lives Fund, Lancaster Investments, M25 Group, Madison Development Corp., Midpoint Ventures, Rock River Capital Partners, Saldalphon Capital, Sixty8 Capital, TitletownTech, Venture Investors, Winnow Fund, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., WISC Partners, Wisconsin Investment Partners, Wisconsin River Business Angels, Yahara Ventures and Ziegler Link-Age Funds.

The conference will feature many opportunities for young companies to learn:

  • About 40 company presentations in two different segments and the “Investor Intros” speed-dating segment.
  • Panel discussions and educational seminars featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector.
  • Keynote speakers and targeted panel discussions featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector making an impact nationwide.
  • Exhibit hall showcasing more than 30 innovative Wisconsin companies.
  • A Nov. 9 conference reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

The Tech Council produces the conference. Sponsors thus far include: Aberdean Consulting, Advocate Aurora Health, American Family Insurance, American Transmission Co., AT&T, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, City of Fitchburg, Concordia University, DeWitt, EUA, Exact Sciences, Findorff, First Business Bank, Foley & Lardner, Godfrey & Kahn, Google, HealthX Ventures, Husch Blackwell, KW2, M3 Insurance, Madison Development Corp., Madison Gas & Electric, Makin’ Hey Communications, Marquette University, Michael Best, Mobile22, Morgridge Institute for Research, N29 Capital Partners, Neider & Boucher, One City Schools, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, RSM US, SustainableHR PEO, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, TDS, Tech Council board member Susan Healy, Technology Innovation Center – Milwaukee, UMOS One Workforce – TechStars, University Research Park, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Madison Computer Sciences, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, Venture Investors, Versiti, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., WIPFLi, Wisconsin Dept. of Financial Institutions, WiSys, Yahara Software and Ziegler.

To learn more about sponsorship information, please reach out to Angela Schlobohm at