Hundreds of people are set to attend the 14th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. Here are 10 reasons to join them Tuesday and Wednesday at Madison’s Alliant Energy Center for one of the Midwest’s premier events for entrepreneurs.

Register through 2 p.m. Monday at Or register Tuesday and Wednesday at the Alliant Center, just off John Nolen Drive in Madison. Why attend?

  1. You’ll hear from topical speakers: Patrick Quirk, a UW-Madison graduate and software expert whose companies have been involved in more than $10 billion in exits over time, will speak Tuesday morning as he looks back on “36 years and 10 companies: The good, the bad and the ugly.” Erik Iverson, who will succeed Carl Gulbrandsen this summer as managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, will lay out his vision Wednesday morning. During the Governor’s Business Plan Contest awards luncheon later that day, Evan Absher from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation will look at know how Wisconsin stands nationally, and what the state can do to improve its performance. Special invited guest: Scott Walker.
  1. You’ll watch the “Diligent Dozen” finalists in the 13th annual Governor’s Business Plan Contest sweat it out: Talk about pressure! Our judges will decide who takes home the top prizes in the 2016 BPC after 13 finalists (OK, it’s a baker’s dozen) give short pitches between 3:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. We’ll announce the winners over lunch Wednesday – which is also when the grand prize winner of the Wisconsin YES! youth business plan contest will present!
  1. You’ll learn from successful entrepreneurs: The panels and seminars will include Ed Barthell, EmOpti; Justin Beck, PerBlue; Brenda Broberg, Forever; Todd Connor, Bunker Labs; Matt Cordio, Skills Pipeline; Mike Dawson, CloudSpotter Technologies; Mike Ertmer, Bunker Labs Wisconsin; Darren Fisher,; Kerry Frank, Comply365; Roland Green, Invenra; Mark Hope, Pegasus Sustainability Solutions; Tera Johnson, teraswhey; Shree Kalluri, Forte Research Systems; Alex Kubicek, Understory; Sean Maday,; Robin Martin, Kinetic Compliance Solutions; Ane Ohm, HarQen; Luella Schmidt, Fine Point Consulting; Mark Schmitz, ZEBRADOG; Perry Sieber, Digital Fertilizer; Alec Slocum, ABODO; Gregory St. Fort, 100state; Heidi Strand, Blue Door Consulting; Dan Sullivan, NeuWave Medical; Jason Weaver, Heilo; Richard Yau, Bright Cellars; and Matt Younkle, Murfie.
  1. You might bump into a seasoned investor: The panelist list alone includes Mark Bakken, HealthX Ventures; Dan Blake, HealthX Ventures; Scott Button, Venture Investors; Dan Einhorn, Capital Midwest; Paul Jones, Ventures on the Water; John Philosophos, Three Oaks Venture Fund; Troy Vosseller, gener8tor; Kyle Weatherly, Vliet Street Capital; and Bob Wood, Wisconsin Investment Partners.
  1. There’s no lack of program choices: The program features 15 panels and seminars spread over two days, bound by themes of “Launch,” “Grow” and “Succeed.” This year, the “Succeed” track will showcase five companies that have moved to, expanded and/or continue to grow in Wisconsin – and why the state is the right place for them. Learn more in the 56-page program, a storehouse of information from sponsors and other resources.
  1. You’ll see some cool inventions from the next generation of entrepreneurs: The student showcase Tuesday evening will feature a live robot demonstration, 3-D printed hair spray containers, hot chocolate wands made with the help of 3-D printers, a heart-rate monitor watch and app that’s used to spark physical activity in youth, and more.
  1. You can tour the Wisconsin Innovation Showcase in our exhibit area: Forty companies, including many Business Plan Contest finalists, will be featured in an exhibit space that serves as a crossroads between major program venues. A dedicated networking session will also take place is this space following the lunch on Tuesday. Grab a coffee, a cookie – and make some connections!
  1. You’ll meet a legendary entrepreneur: Mark Gehring, who has founded and grown a series of medical imaging and digital health companies, will receive the 2016 Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” award. Think Geometrics, UltraVisual Medical Systems, Sharendipity, Propeller Health and HealthMyne. Pay particular attention Tuesday to the unique award sculpture created by Scathain, a Milwaukee designer.
  1. You won’t leave hungry: Two luncheons, a reception and two breakfasts are included in your registration fee. It’s hard to go wrong on that alone!
  1. You’ll be a part of a major networking event: Whether it’s the luncheons, the reception, the panels or lobby conversations, you’ll meet hundreds of people who are building Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial economy. Join them!

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