MILWAUKEE – Built around the theme of “Pathways to Success,” the fourth annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference is tailored to the needs of business people who are launching start-ups or growing early stage companies.

Confirmed speakers for the June 8-9 conference in Milwaukee include:

  n      John D. Gartner, author of a best-selling book on America’s unique entrepreneurial character, “TheHypomanic Edge: The link between (a little) craziness and (a lot of) success in America.”

n      Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association. Heesen also oversees the NCVA’s affiliate, American Entrepreneurs for Economic Growth, which represents 14,000 emerging growth companies.

n      Steven S. Little, senior consultant for Inc. magazine and author of “The 7 Irrefutable Rules of Small Business Growth.”

n      John May, often called the “father of angel networks.” He is the managing partner of the New Vantage Group in Vienna, Va., co-founder of the Investor’s Circle, assistant director of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and chairman of the national Angel Capital Association.

Also expected to speak at the conference at the Milwaukee Hyatt Regency, 333 W. Kilbourn, are Gov. Jim Doyle and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

 The conference will also unveil the winners of the third Governor’s Business Plan Contest and the third “Seize the Day” award. More than 20 panel discussions over a day and a half will focus on the basics of running a start-up business – and moving those businesses to the next stage.

Sales, pricing, hiring, getting the right professional advice and sizing up markets are among the panels. New this year: “Banking in the New Economy” and franchising tracks.

This conference is designed to give entrepreneurs, young and old, a road map. It is a short course in the tactical strategies necessary to navigate the inevitable pitfalls and roadblocks of entrepreneurship. Our attendees will hear stories of stunning successes and humbling failures – which often led to successes at a later date. Our hope is that participants will leave this conference inspired and recharged, and ready to leap over the next hurdle.

The conference is part of Wisconsin’s continuing efforts to grow an economy that encourages innovation, risk-taking and formation of new businesses. Wisconsin is on the move. We will maintain our momentum by presenting strategies, tactics and tools to entrepreneurs – the people who will create the knowledge-based businesses of tomorrow.

The Tech Council is the non-profit science and technology adviser to the Governor and the Legislature. Members of the Wisconsin Innovation Network, the membership subsidiary of the Tech Council, may attend the conference for $100; general admission is $150.

A core sponsor of the conference and the business plan contest is the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. Other sponsors include: Mason Wells Private Equity; American Transmission Co.; Michael Best and Friedrich; Foley & Lardner; Grant Thornton; Godfrey & Kahn; AT&T; Alliant Energy; Madison Gas & Electric; J.P. Cullen & Sons; Eli Lilly; WEA Trust; Business Procurement Assistance Center (Madison Area Technical College); Vrakas/Blum, S.C.; Suby Von Haden & Associates, S.C.; Loughrin Accounting & Tax Services; The Boldt Company; Axley Brynelson; Makin’ Hey! Communications; the Wisconsin Education Association Council; Aberdean Consulting LLC, Chippewa Valley Technical College; Fox Valley Technical College; Quarles and Brady; University Research Park; the State of Wisconsin Investment Board; Associated Bank; GlaxoSmithKline; Reinhart, Boerner Van Deuren; Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network; UW-Whitewater Wisconsin Innovation Service Center; and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.