Appleton-based Fleet Farm has joined a previously announced group of major firms that will take part in “speed dates” with emerging companies at the March 18 Wisconsin Tech Summit in Green Bay’s Lambeau Field.

Fleet Farm has 49 stores U.S. stores with 23 of those outlets in Wisconsin. Fleet Farm representatives are looking to build relationships with emerging businesses in many sectors; they join three other “first-time” major firm participants: CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen), Deloitte and gener8tor. Stay tuned for future announcements.

Previously announced repeat major firms: Exact Sciences, Faith Technologies Inc. (FTI), Findorff, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Google, Johnson Controls, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, OEM Fabricators, Oshkosh Corp., Promega, Rockwell Automation, Schreiber Foods and TitletownTech.

Emerging companies may apply through Feb. 26 to meet with major firms and explore potential business relationships around technology, supply chain needs and innovation as part of the 11th annual summit. More information, including the online application form, can be found at Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to apply and attend at the discounted student rate. Past applicants are encouraged to apply again.

Entering its 11th year, the Tech Summit revolves around a series of brief meetings, or “speed dates,” to foster communication and partnership.

There is no set definition as to what constitutes an emerging company. It can be a startup with a few founders and limited revenue or a small business with several dozen employees and solid revenue. What matters most is whether major firms spot partnership potential when reviewing applications.

“There are many reasons why major firms would want to meet with emerging companies, and vice versa,” said Gary Frings, chairman of the Wisconsin Tech Council, which produces the event. “This is a way to enhance company-to-company connections in Wisconsin and beyond, with benefits to small businesses and major firms alike.”

Major firms will be able to hear from emerging companies with innovative products or services tied to areas such as digital health innovation, artificial intelligence, fin-tech and insure-tech, health diagnostics and delivery, software and data analytics in sectors such as manufacturing, health care, information systems and power electronics.

Applications are welcome from early stage funds that may want to introduce portfolio companies and otherwise connect with major firms.

“The evolving tech needs of major firms may lead to strategic partnerships with innovative young companies,” Frings said. “Potential business relationships might include contracting for research and development, becoming part of a larger supply chain, and pursuing investment or acquisition strategies.”

Following the Feb. 26 application deadline at, a selection process involving major firms and the Tech Council will follow. Selected emerging companies may meet with multiple major firms, depending on mutual interest.

A company registration fee is due at the time of application; forms for which are available online. Companies that are not selected to participate will receive a full refund.

The March 18 “speed date” meetings are 15 minutes each with five minutes between. Other features of the event are:

  • Educational “Office Hours” seminars, which will be available to all participants during those times in which they are not scheduled for individual meetings;
  • An event overview and opening discussion to help set the stage for emerging companies by allowing major firms to talk generally about their goals, needs and emerging markets;
  • A keynote presentation and plenary panel, and;
  • Networking breakfast, lunch and reception.

Sponsors thus far are; Apple, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, AVI Systems, Baird Capital, BDO, CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen), Deloitte, Flad Architects, Google, Greater Green Bay Chamber, Involta, Johnson Controls, Lost Boys Interactive, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Microsoft, New North, Raven Software, Ruder Ware, Sadoff E-Recycling & Data Destruction, SARA Investment Real Estate, Shive-Hattery, Summerfest Tech, Turo, UMOS, UW Extended Campus, University Research Park, UW-Madison Center for Dairy Research, UW-Madison Data Science Institute, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, Virent, von Briesen & Roper, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp, WHEFA, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters and Wisconsin Counties Association.

Visit for more information on the event, the application process, registration and sponsorship opportunities.