Early November skies are calm across much of Wisconsin, so the weather will cooperate for those who attend this week’s in-person Early Stage Symposium in Madison. Here’s a checklist of reasons to drop by Wednesday and Thursday for one of the Midwest’s premier events for entrepreneurs and investors.

Register online through 5 p.m. Monday or in person Wednesday and Thursday at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, 1 John Nolen Drive, in downtown Madison. ICYMI, here is why you should be there…

  1. Have we mentioned it’s in-person? We’ve found we can’t say it enough, but even with the Dane County mask order still in effect, we’ll be there in 3D.
  2. You’ll hear learning from success and failure: Our speakers have unique perspectives on what it takes to innovate: Nathan Herbst and Joel Fields of Paradigm will discuss how they built the software-based company that sold this year for $450 million. Brothers Khalif and Que El-Amin will discuss their Young Enterprising Society. Joe Boucher of Neider & Boucher will talk about decades of mentoring others as he accepts the Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education award.
  3. You’ll watch new companies make their pitch to investors: The heat is on! Twenty-three companies were picked by our steering committee for five-minute presentations Wednesday. They range from industrial materials and processes to medical devices and digital health solutions and from time-saving software to renewable agricultural products. On Thursday, another 15 startups will pitch to a panel of investor judges during our annual “Elevator Pitch Olympics.” It’s a lightning round – 90 seconds per pitch!
  4. You will bump into a seasoned investor: Investors registered so far include: 1915 Studios, 4490 Ventures, Bascom Ventures, Bold Coast Capital, BrightStar Wisconsin, Capital Midwest, Cultivation Capital, Golden Angels Investors, Great North Ventures, HealthX Ventures, Hyde Park Ventures, Inventure Capital, Lancaster Investments, M25 Group, Madison Development Corp., Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, Sandalphon Capital, Stateline Angels, TitletownTech, Tundra Angels, Venture Investors, WARF Ventures, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., WISC Partners, Wisconsin Investment Partners, Wisconsin River Business Angels, Yahara Ventures and Ziegler Meditech.
  5. You’ll feel the buzz from the state’s largest speed-dating event: During our “Investor Intros” segment, about 30 funds or networks will meet with about 60 emerging companies in a series of short ice-breakers. With close to 300 speed dates in two hours, some meaningful relationships are on the horizon.
  6. There’s no lack of program choices: A dozen panels or workshops are spread over two days, all organized around questions entrepreneurs and early stage companies need to ask – and answer.
  7. You can visit with experts during our “Office Hours” segments: Back by popular demand is “Office Hours,” a series of small-group discussions at which entrepreneurs can discuss specific issues with experts and their peers. Scheduled during the two days are: “Understanding Wisconsin’s ‘Qualified New Business Venture’ process”; “Effective marketing strategies to master the game”; “ARPA, SBIR and more alphabet soup: Why these federal dollars are worth chasing”; “How to find (and keep) your first customers”; “Incubator, accelerator or co-working space: What’s right for you?”; “Recruiting for the right culture and why it matters”; “Numbers that matter: What entrepreneurs need to know” and “Trade and tech: How to weather today’s storm.”
  8. 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!
  9. You’ll be flooded with useful info: Our 58-page program manual is a storehouse of information. P.S. Bring your cell phones so you can engage in the social media conversation and take part in judging some of our pitches.
  10. You’ll be a part of a major networking event: Whether it’s over refreshments, during the panel discussions or in lobby conversations, you’ll meet hundreds of people who are building Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial economy. Join them!

Learn more by checking out our online agenda at wisearlystage.com.