A former Madison venture capitalist who now helps to shape federal small business policy through the U.S. Small Business Administration will speak Nov. 10 at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium in Madison.

Winslow Sargeant, formerly a partner in Madison-based Venture Investors LLC and now chief counsel for advocacy at the SBA, will speak during a Wednesday, Nov. 10 luncheon honoring Small Business Innovation Research grant winners in Wisconsin. The two-day conference continues Thursday, Nov. 11, at Madison’s Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.

Appointed by President Obama, Sargeant heads the SBA’s Office of Advocacy. It serves as an independent voice for small business within the federal government with a mission of encouraging policies that support small business start-up, growth, and development. That includes pushing for continued federal investments in research programs that help to create new companies and jobs.

“Dr. Sargeant’s background in technology transfer and early stage capital puts him in a position to help lead federal efforts to encourage tech-based development,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which is producing the conference. “We’re eager to welcome home one of our favorite sons and to hear how his broad experience is helping shape federal policy.”

As chief counsel, Sargeant directs Office of Advocacy operations, which include conducting research on the U.S. small business sector, advocating for small businesses within the federal government’s agencies and rulemaking processes, reaching out to regional and state small business advocates and policymakers, and fostering public awareness of small business contributions and concerns.

Before joining Venture Investors in 2006, Sargeant was the program manager for the Small Business Innovations Research program in Electronics within the National Science Foundation. He previously co-founded Aanetcom, a fabless semiconductor chip startup company with seed funding from Cisco Systems and later acquired by PMC-Sierra. Prior to Aanetcom, he held senior engineering positions at Lucent, AT&T Bell Labs and IBM.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University, a master’s degree from Iowa State University and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all in electrical engineering.

The annual conference, which has existed under different names for more than 20 years, will feature the sixth annual “Elevator Pitch Olympics” for companies in a seed financing stage and the fourth annual Wisconsin Angel Network Early Stage presentation track for companies seeking angel investments beginning in the $500,000 range.

Nearly 60 companies applied to present.  Twenty-two companies will be selected and announced soon for the Angel Network track (Wednesday, Nov. 10) and about 18 for the Elevator Pitch Olympics (Thursday, Nov. 11).  Companies in the WAN track feature technologies in major sectors: information technology and Internet services, biotechnology, medical devices, advanced manufacturing, alternative energy and more. These companies are located in communities across Wisconsin as well as other Midwestern states.

The symposium will also feature nationally known speakers and panelists to be announced in coming weeks, the “First Look Forum” for pre-commercial, campus-based discoveries, a reception celebrating early stage companies and 18 panel discussions.  Participants in the angel and “Elevator Pitch” tracks will also be eligible to take part in presentation training seminars.

The Early Stage Symposium is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and its partners and sponsors. To register, review sponsorship opportunities and learn more, go to: www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.com/events/earlystage/