Former professional football player Marques Ogden, who lost $2 million on a construction project in 90 days before lifting himself off the turf, will speak about entrepreneurial resiliency the morning of Nov. 6 during the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium in Madison.

Ogden’s construction company had grown quickly and was honored as the state of Maryland’s African-American Subcontractor of the Year in 2010. When the company went bankrupt in 2013, Ogden moved from part-time work as a custodian to starting a new firm that focuses on helping others learn from business failures. Today, he’s an acclaimed speaker, author, marketer and business coach.

A 2002 finance graduate of Howard University, Ogden received a grant from the Gene Upshaw Players Assistance Trust Fund to assist in turning his life around. His awards include Top 100 MBE Winners through the Center for Business Inclusion and Diversity sponsored by The University of Maryland, Southwest Airlines and greiBO media; and Winner of the Rising Star Under Age 40 Award from Living Classrooms and Stevenson University.

Brother of Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden, Marques Ogden is not alone among former National Football League players who experience financial troubles after they retire from the game. Unlike some others, however, Ogden’s troubles weren’t due to lifestyle woes – but a bad business deal.

“I never overspent while playing in the NFL, lived in a townhouse, always drove pre-owned cars and did everything right according to most financial advisors and this one wrong business move cost me everything,” he said. “Even though I take full responsibility for what happened, seeking proper advice at the time would’ve been the difference between losing some money and all of my life’s savings.”

Ogden will open the conference with thoughts on entrepreneurial traits and take audience questions. Registration is open!

“Marques will bring a ‘rags to riches to rags and back’ story to the Early Stage Symposium, where entrepreneurs of all types will be able to begin their conference journey with tough yet inspirational advice about failure and recovery,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

New this year: The conference will be immediately preceded by “Innovation Day,” which is produced by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The WARF Innovation Day will be held Nov. 5 at Monona Terrace Convention Center, with more details to follow.

The annual Wisconsin W•O•M•E•N reception (Women, Opportunities, Mentors, Networking, Entrepreneurs) will also be held Nov. 5. This event will be open to both men and women, with a speaker to be announced soon. The conference will also feature:

  • Previously announced: Veteran investor and decentralized technology expert Jeff Schumacher will speak the morning of Nov. 7. Schumacher headed one of the world’s largest corporate venture capital firms, BCG Digital Ventures, and recently launched 55 Foundry as an “invent-and-invest” venture firm. The UW-Eau Claire graduate is a frequent commentator at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
  • Panel discussions and workshops featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector.
  • “Office Hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts on a variety of topics in small discussion groups or one-on-one.
  • The 6th annual “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education” award presentation and luncheon.
  • Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies.
  • A Nov. 6 conference reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

The Tech Council produces the conference. Sponsors so far include: 100state, Aberdean Consulting, Accuray, ACS, Alliant Energy, American Transmission Co., AmpliPhi, AT&T, Aurora Health Care, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, Boardman & Clark, Ben Brewer Photography, C.D. Smith Construction, CGI, City of Fitchburg, Concordia University of Wisconsin, CUNA Mutual, Dane County Regional Airport, Dedicated Computing, Discovery World, Eppstein Uhen Architects, Exact Sciences, Findorff, Fluno Center, Foley & Lardner, Foxconn, Godfrey & Kahn, HealthX Ventures, Husch Blackwell, Idea Fund of La Crosse, KW2, M3 Insurance, Madison Development Corp., Madison Gas & Electric, Makin’ HEY! Communications, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Medical College of Wisconsin, Michael Best, Midwest Prototyping, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Morgridge Institute, N29 Capital Partners, Neider & Boucher, One City Schools, Perkins Coie, Promega, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, RSM US, ScaleFactor, Signature Bank, Summit Credit Union, Susan Healy, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Technology Innovation Center – Milwaukee, University Research Park, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, Venture Investors, Versiti, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Whitewater University Technology Park, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Dept. of Financial Institutions, Wisconsin Investment Partners, Yahara Software and Ziegler.