MILWAUKEE – Built around the theme of “Cracking 21st Century Markets,” the fifth annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference will celebrate the state’s emerging high-growth economy and feature a line-up of nationally known speakers, panelists and workshops.

Confirmed speakers for the June 12-13 conference in Milwaukee are:

Jason Fried, founder of Chicago-based 37Signals. Fried and 37Signals have drawn acclaim for web applications such as Basecamp (web-based project management), Backpack (web-based personal information management) and Ta-da List (web-based “to-do” lists). Basecamp received a Business Week “Best of the Web” award in 2005 and 2006.
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, associate director of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and chairman of the Angel Capital Association. May will lead the WAN deal syndication workshop and take part in other panels in the full conference.

Tim Jump, a high-school engineering teacher from the Twin Cities whose students won a national robotics championship — against college teams! Jump will talk about the importance of STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) in today’s knowledge economy. He will be introduced by Tom Gunkel, chief operating officer of M.A. Mortenson Co. and an advocate of education that produces more, and better, entrepreneurs. 

Also invited to speak at the conference, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, 333 W. Kilbourn, are Gov. Jim Doyle and the winner of the fourth annual “Seize the Day” award, which goes to one of Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial legends.  

Registration is $100 for members of the Wisconsin Innovation Network, $60 for students and veterans, and $150 for general admission. 

Register now at  Registration includes all panel sessions, a June 12 reception and dinner, June 12-13 luncheons and a June 13 breakfast. New this year: “Track X” chat rooms to engage key panelists and speakers in follow-up discussions. All registrants will receive a 2007 “Entrepreneurs Toolkit” CD. 

Registration for the June 12 Wisconsin Angel Network deal syndication workshop within the conference is separate; go to to register for this investors-only workshop.
The conference will also unveil the winners of the fourth Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which is worth $160,000 in cash and other prizes. More than 20 panels will focus on the basics of running a start-up business – and moving those businesses to the next stage.   

“Through a mix of workshops, interaction and inspirational examples, the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference is aimed at stimulating more entrepreneurial activity statewide,” said E. Kelly Fitzsimmons, a successful entrepreneur who is chairwoman of the conference. “Wisconsin is on the move. We will maintain our momentum by presenting strategies, tactics and tools to entrepreneurs – the people who will create the businesses of tomorrow.” 

“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,” said Fitzsimmons, a member of the Wisconsin Technology Council. 

The Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference is being co-produced by the Tech Council, which is the non-profit science and technology adviser to the Governor and the Legislature, and a number of statewide and regional partners.

A core sponsor of the conference is the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. Other sponsors thus far include: Aberdean Consulting, Amcore Bank, American Transmission Company, AT&T, Baird Venture Partners, Cleantech Partners, First Weber Group, Flad & Associates, Foley & Lardner, Godfrey & Kahn, Grant Thornton, Makin’ Hey! Communications, Madison Gas & Electric Co., Marshfield Clinic Applied Sciences, Matador Consulting, Michael Best & Friedrich, Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation, Park Printing, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Rockwell Automation, The Business Journal, Third Wave Technologies, University Research Park, U.S. Patent Services, UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations,
UW-Whitewater Center for Innovation & Business Development/Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, Venture Investors, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC),
We Energies, Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Network, Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority (WHEFA), Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek,
Wisconsin Angel Network, Wisconsin Technology Network and the
Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions

To become a sponsor, call 608-442-7557. 

For more information, go to There you may register for the conference, preview panel topics, learn about special hotel rates, review information about past conferences, become a sponsor and learn more about the Tech Council and its programs. 

Don’t miss one of the Midwest‘s premier networking and hands-on events for entrepreneurs! Join hundreds of business leaders, investors and others as they learn how to crack into today’s emerging markets.