Nine early-stage companies will make pitches Thursday night at the Milwaukee Public Library downtown.

The startups just graduated from a 12-week immersive program for engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs through the Midwest Energy Research Consortium’s WERCBench Labs accelerator. This program taps into our region’s effort to build on its strengths and embrace the roots of manufacturing. It focuses solely on early-stage companies with hardware-oriented products and solutions, and matches them with a world-class lineup of over 90 mentors in the energy, power, and controls industries based in our region.

This is WERCBench Labs’ second class for new start-up companies in the energy sector. You can see first-hand the results Thursday at 6:30pm. The event is open to the public and will include free drinks and hors d’oeuvres. George Konstantakis, president of Brooks Stevens, will also make a short keynote presentation about the critical link between innovation and entrepreneurship. Read the full story here.