MILWAUKEE – Five major speakers and seminar moderators, from the co-founder of the Culver’s restaurant chain to one of the fathers of biotech investing, will help set the tone during the sixth annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee.
To see the agenda and to register for the June 9-10 conference at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, visit www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.com/events/ent_conf
Headlining the conference are G. Steven Burrill, founder and CEO of Burrill & Co.; Craig Culver, co-founder of Culver Franchising System; John May, chairman of the Angel Capital Association; Sue Strommer, president of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds; and Anne Zizzo, founder and CEO of Zizzo Group Advertising and Public Relations. Here is more on each speaker:
Steve Burrill is one of biotechnology’s household names. He is CEO of Burrill & Company, a $950-million life sciences merchant bank that invests in medical, agricultural and industrial biotechnology companies. Burrill serves on the boards of directors of eight publicly traded biotech companies. In 2002, he was recognized as a biotech investment visionary by the prestigious Scientific American magazine (The Scientific American 50). Before founding Burrill & Co., he spent 28 years with Ernst & Young, directing the firm’s services to tech-based clients. Wisconsin ties at Burrill & Co. run deep: Managing director Roger Wyse is a former dean of the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). In addition, Burrill is a major sponsor of the annual Burrill Business Plan Competition at UW-Madison, and he has advised the CALS Life Sciences Task Force. He will speak during dinner on Monday, June 9.
Craig Culver’s business card reads “co-founder/co-worker,” a title that summarizes his role at what Restaurants & Institutions magazine recently named as America’s No. 1 burger chain. Culver is a co-founder of the Culver’s chain, which now includes 370-plus restaurants in 17 states, but he’s also a co-worker, projecting his passion for customer service and quality to those around him. Culver opened “Culver’s Frozen Custard and Butter Burgers” in Sauk City in July 1984 in a building that was once operated as an A&W Drive-In by his family. Since then, Culver Franchising System, Inc., has established 370-plus restaurants in 17 states and is continuing to grow. He speaks at 9:30 a.m. Monday, June 9.
John May will moderate the I-Q Corridor Investors’ Symposium during the afternoon on Monday, June 9. He is the managing partner of New Vantage Group, a Vienna, Va.-based firm that mobilizes private equity capital into early-stage companies. The group administers four regional angel groups that include more than 300 individual members and multiple joint ventures with sister organizations. Over the last 20 years, May has been an advisor to, or a general partner of, five early-stage venture capital funds. He is co-author of Every Business Needs an Angel and chairman of the Angel Capital Association. May is a lead instructor for the Kauffman Foundation’s “Power of Angel Investing” seminars.
Susan P. Strommer is president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds, a network of 8,000 seed and early stage investment professionals and organizations. The network includes a number of people and groups who provide capital to entrepreneurs directly and indirectly: venture investors, angels, economic development organizations, incubators, universities, federal agencies and more. Strommer has more than 20 years of experience in global entrepreneurship as a lawyer, business strategy consultant, and public policy advocate. Strommer joined NASVF as its CEO in 2005. She will speak 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, June 10.
Anne Zizzo is the president and CEO of Zizzo Group Advertising & Public Relations, a firm she founded 14 years ago in the basement of her home and grew into a company that operates at the top floors of Milwaukee’s business and civic life. Her entrepreneurial attitude is reflected in the firm’s edgy, innovative approach to integrated marketing. The Zizzo Group brought in $40 million in billings in 2007 and has been profitable in each of the last 13 years. Zizzo serves on the boards of directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, the Greater Milwaukee Committee and the Marquette University Board of Trustees, among other civic and charitable groups. Zizzo speaks noon Monday, June 9.
The Entrepreneurs’ Conference is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council, the independent, non-profit science and technology advisers to the Governor and the Legislature. It serves as a catalyst for the growth of Wisconsin’s tech-based and entrepreneurial economy.
Other conference highlights include the Governor’s Business Plan Contest awards, the Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” award, the First Look forum (a preview of campus research with commercial potential), hands-on panel discussions, dozens of exhibits and a wealth of networking opportunities.
Register or learn more by visiting www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.com/events/ent_conf