You’ve taken care of most of the basics of starting a young company … so, now what? Clearing hurdles that often don’t arise until startup excitement passes is the theme of the “Grow” panel discussion track at the June 2 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference.

The 20th annual conference, to be held at the Italian Community Center on June 1-2, returns in-person to the Cream City to celebrate the region’s rise as a startup and scale-up hub. Registration is open at

The “Grow” track is one of three conference tracks open to all attendees at the 20th annual conference, which is returning to Milwaukee. Panel discussions in the “Grow” track are:

10 a.m. June 2 – How to sleep at night: Maintaining a balance of work, home and mental health
National mental health statistics are troubling – and entrepreneurs are far from immune. In fact, some experts say entrepreneurs are 50 percent more likely to report having a mental health condition, with some specific conditions being incredibly prevalent amongst founders. How do you run a company and keep your life balance? We’ll ask some experts who have done so. Moderated by Jessica Silvaggi, UWM Research Foundation. Panelists: Kwadwo Owosu-Ofori, Twi Pods and Ashley Quinto Powell, an author and consultant.

11 a.m. June 2 – Tech talent wanted: Attracting, developing and retaining the skills to fuel your growth
Attracting, hiring and retaining the right people is essential for any organization, large or small, but the stakes can be larger when it’s a young company that cannot afford to make expensive personnel mistakes. Hear from companies that have devised strategies that are right for their stage and size. Moderated by Kathy Henrich, MKE Tech Hub Coalition. Panelists: David Brady, Colorful Connections; Raymond Seaver, zizzl; Lia Vaska, Expert Institute; and Chris Widmayer, Penrod Software.

2 p.m. June 2 – Challenges women face as entrepreneurs and investors: Some are not always obvious to others
It need not be overt. Many, if not most, challenges encountered by women entrepreneurs are subtle. They include struggles to be taken seriously; being able to “own” their accomplishments without coming off as bragging; and finding investors who understand female-oriented market needs can be different. Our panel will examine ways that women can succeed in a male-dominated field. Moderated by Leslee Cohen, AllRise Legal Counsel. Panelists: Rebecca Cooke, Red Letter Grant; Bre Loughlin, Nurse Disrupted; and Karen Plunkett, Milwaukee Venture Partners.

Three more panels in the “Succeed” track will be announced soon; three “Launch” panels were announced recently. Attendees may attend all or parts of any track.

Putting early stage pieces together is the theme of the conference, where entrepreneurs from around the state will showcase their innovations, services and technologies.

Produced by the Tech Council, the Entrepreneurs’ Conference is among the largest events for entrepreneurs and early stage investors in the Upper Midwest. Other highlights will include:

  • Diligent (Baker’s) Dozen: Top 13 finalists from the Governor’s Business Plan Contest square off on the afternoon of June 1st
  • Greg Piefer, CEO of SHINE Technologies, keynote presentation on the morning of June 2nd, sponsored by Wisconsin Investment Partners
  • The 19th Ken Hendricks Memorial Seize the Day award luncheon honoring Cory Nettles, Generation Growth Capital, on the afternoon of June 2nd
  • Governor’s Business Plan Contest awards ceremony on June 2nd
  • Innovation Showcase featuring exhibits from Wisconsin companies
  • A presentation by the winner of the Wisconsin YES! youth business plan contest, and;
  • Plenty of chances to network with seasoned entrepreneurs and investors over food and refreshments, including a June 1st reception.

Sponsors so far are: Aberdean Consulting, Affiliated Engineers, American Family Insurance, AT&T, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, Center for Technology Commercialization, City of Fitchburg, DeWitt, Findorff, First Business Bank, Godfrey & Kahn, Greater Green Bay Chamber, Health Tradition, HealthX Ventures, Husch Blackwell, J.P. Morgan, Madison College, Madison Development Corp., Madison Gas & Electric, Makin’ HEY!, Marquette University, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Medical College of Wisconsin, Michael Best, Mobile22, N29 Capital Partners, Neider & Boucher, Ogden Glazer + Schaefer, PDS, Perkins Coie, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Ruder Ware, Uber, UMOS One Workforce -TechStars, University Research Park, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Madison Innovate Network, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, UW-Madison Office of University Relations, Venture Investors, Versiti, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Wisconsin Dept. of Financial Institutions, Wisconsin Technical College System and Zendesk.


To become a sponsor, contact Angela Schlobohm at For more information, visit or call 608-442-7557.