Join fellow entrepreneurs, nerds, geeks, hackers, foodies, and creatives from the Midwest in an 8-day celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship.

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Events

Aug 17, 2017

Social Good Summit

The 3rd annual Social Good Summit focus is not on profits, but social change. Madison's innovative community is poised to move the needle on social good acceleration — changing the way business and work will touch our lives. Every week, accelerators launch hundreds of business initiatives into fruitful realities. But these opportunities are scarce for those who want to create meaningful work, public good, community well-being, and sustainable...

9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Madison Public Library

  • Pitch Event
  • Startup
  • Showcase
  • Founder
  • Mentor
  • Summit
Social Good Summit

Badger Startup Summit

Sponsored by: Baker Tilly
Sponsored by: Capitol Bank
Sponsored by: Kollath CPA
Sponsored by: Makin' Hey
Sponsored by: Murphy Desmond
Sponsored by: Morgan Stanley
Sponsored by: University Research Park
Sponsored by: WARF
Now in its fifth year the Badger Startup Summit is a highly interactive event connecting Badger entrepreneurs * everywhere - share ideas, exchange experiences and meet new contacts.- Hear from Wisconsin entrepreneurs during the Disruptive (r)Evolution Showcase talk about how their technologies are shaping new business solutions.- Make connections with all the key players in the Madison startup tech scene during the noon time VenFair.- Participate in...

8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

  • Conference
  • Startup
  • Mentor
  • Pitch Event
  • Showcase
Badger Startup Summit

Better By Design Workshop

Dig in with thought leaders and experienced practitioners in UX, user research, accessibility, and more. Round out your experience at the Better by Design conference the following day, on Aug 18.

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Union South

  • workshop
Better By Design Workshop

VenFair

The VenFair is the startup community's equivalent of a food court; connections with and information about investors, mentors, and supporting organizations - all will take their spots at tables for speed meetings on the fly with all comers. Oh, and there is lunch too. The VenFair is a stand-alone event but runs over an extended lunch as part of the Badger Startup Summit.

12:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

  • Social
VenFair

Shaping Tomorrow's Leaders

Building Bosses is a mentoring program that pairs successful business owners with young people. AJ Carr, the 14 year old owner of Building Bosses, will be sharing more detailed information about the program and all that he's trying to accomplish. If you cannot attend the 12:00 PM event there is another at 4:30 PM!

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Badger Rock Neighborhood Center

  • Mentors
  • CEO
  • Founders
Shaping Tomorrow's Leaders

Fast-Track to Funding Your Start-Up Panel

Ready to get your business dream up and running? Get real world knowledge to help fund your start-up with this special panel, led by director of StartingBlock Madison Chandra Miller Fienen. Panelists include Managing Director at Venture Investors Scott Button, Gener8or Program Director Louis Condon, and President and Cofounder of Redox, and Co-founder of 100State Niko Skievaski. Be sure to attend to be eligible to win a $50 gift card....

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

DreamBank

  • Panel
  • Founder
  • Mentor
  • Startup
  • Investor
Fast-Track to Funding Your Start-Up Panel

High Tech Happy Hour Anniversary Event

The 16th anniversary of High Tech Happy Hour will help kick off the 2017 Forward Festival. Join us at the UW Memorial Union from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. and enjoy hosted beverages and appetizers while networking with local business professionals. Pre-registration is appreciated but not required. All are welcome, so come and bring your friends!

5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Memorial Union

  • Social
High Tech Happy Hour Anniversary Event

Aug 18, 2017

Rise and Shine

Join us for a fun & casual morning of meeting and mixing with fellow women in business. Whether you already launched your company, or are just thinking about starting one- jump into our event to build your community, share ideas & experiences, and make new connections. THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES™ is a platform for Freelancers, Consultants and B2B Entrepreneurs that creates community, connections, and convenience. THE JILLS’ mission is gr...

7:30 am – 9:00 am

Synergy Coworking

  • Social
  • Founder
  • Startup
  • Mentor
  • Introductory
Rise and Shine

Widen Chats hosted by Matthew Gonnering

Being technologically savvy is only one facet of a modern marketing technologists’ skill set. The Marketing Tech Talk Meetup strives to provide a practical, educational setting to empower professionals with knowledge and skills to foster continuous career growth. Marketing Tech Talks will feature industry experts and leading practitioners to lead focused discussions covering common problems along with actionable advice, tips, and solutions. This group is not a forum for vendors to...

8:00 am – 9:30 am

Widen

  • Meet up
  • Focused Discussions
Widen Chats hosted by Matthew Gonnering

Better by Design Conference

Get inspired by practitioners using thoughtful design to make things better for projects, people, and our world. Enjoy one full day of expert presenters and inspiring case studies on design thinking, user experience (UX), product design and more! Round out your experience with a workshop (or two!) the day before on Aug 17.

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Union South

  • Conference
Better by Design Conference

Better By Design Community Social

Are you wondering where Madison's UX and design community is? We want to meet you! Join design-minded folks from Madison and beyond for a social hour. Connect with other UXers and designers and enjoy a summer evening on the patio of Union South. Don't be shy - this event is open to and inclusive of all!

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Union South

  • Social
Better By Design Community Social

Immigrant Entrepreneurship

Immigrants make up a disproportional share of entrepreneurs in the United States. Join gener8tor for a discussion about this important policy topic including perspectives from national thought-leaders, local immigrant entrepreneurs and policymakers.

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Foley & Lardner

  • Panel
  • Focused Discussion
Immigrant Entrepreneurship

Challenge Cup : Madison, By Starting Block Madison

StartingBlock Madison is hosting the Challenge Cup qualifying pitch competition.  Part of the global Challenge Cup competition organized by 1776 and Revolution, Challenge Cup : Madison will highlight our region’s most innovative and interesting startups, each delivering a 2-minute elevator pitch, followed by a 1-minute Q&A with a panel of judges.  The Madison winner will win airfare and accommodations to the Global Challenge Cup finals in Ne...

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

  • Pitch
  • Founder
  • Developer
  • Scientist
  • Mentor
  • Startup
  • Investor
  • Elected
Challenge Cup : Madison, By Starting Block Madison

Aug 19, 2017

Heymiss Progress Presents: Chat + Chomp + Plan

Come through and have brunch with us! We're kicking off the morning featuring a lively discussion featuring SaVance Ford who'll share his experience in coding camps and working for Adorable.io. Over brunch we'll get right into a lively discussion on creating inclusive environments and you'll leave with a plan you can act on right away!

11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Adorable

  • Brunch
  • Focused Discussion
  • Social
Heymiss Progress Presents: Chat + Chomp + Plan

#Parentpreneur Networking

Are you an entrepreneur or business owner looking to meet other business professionals who seek work/family balance? So are we! And we have noticed a significant gap in the support network. Our goal is to foster a startup ecosystem in Madison that values and supports founders and their families. We are advocating for the children of founders of both “startups” and “small businesses”. After all, if we want Madison to be th...

4:00 pm – 7:30 pm

MATRIX Collaborative Business Solutions

  • Social
#Parentpreneur Networking

Aug 20, 2017

Pre-Pride Parade Continental Brunch at Red Elephant Chocolate

Join OPEN (Out, Professional Engagement Network) Madison at the Pre-Pride Parade Continental Brunch right on the Pride parade route, featuring a light brunch of various chocolate specialties including chocolate covered bacon! Each guest receives one mimosa with registration, additional available for purchase.  Red Elephant Chocolate specializes in premium, handcrafted chocolates featuring artistic truffles, caramels, figures, gift boxes and also selections made with the world’s rarest, single-origin chocolate. Located ju...

10:30 am – 11:30 am

Red Elephant

  • Social
Pre-Pride Parade Continental Brunch at Red Elephant Chocolate

makeshift

A new festival that celebrates the visual & culinary arts alongside the rich history of Madison's public spaces.

3:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Olbrich Park

  • Festival
makeshift

Aug 21, 2017

Drop In Workday at Revel

Attending Forward Fest? Use Revel as your downtown office on a busy day of sessions! Take a break between sessions to catch up on emails, snack, network, and perhaps enjoy a cold beverage ;) Revel's inspiring space is conveniently located just off the Capitol Square and has ample room for co-working, conversation, and more. Drop in any time between 9am-5pm and enjoy high-speed Wifi, complimentary snacks generously provided by Bassett...

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Revel

  • Social
  • Coworking
  • Craft
Drop In Workday at Revel

Exploring Silvertech: Innovations For Seniors And Caregivers

Sponsored by: Earthling Interactive
The conversation about aging adults and tech needs to shift from focusing on an "untapped opportunity" to thinking about the realities around aging and how technology might revolutionize the way we live-as and care-for seniors. Aging2.0 Madison presents a panel of experts on aging and technology that will examine ways silvertech can improve quality of life, assist aging in place, and support care givers and providers. From wearables to telehealth,...

9:30 am – 2:30 pm

Grand Hall at Capitol Lakes Retirement Community

  • Panel
Exploring Silvertech: Innovations For Seniors And Caregivers

Pitch to Ditch

How can startups, free lancers, and entrepreneurs best help solve our communities toughest issues? Individuals with ideas to pitch will share with a crowd of community-minded individuals who want to be a part of solving tough problems. A great opportunity to and learn!

11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Boardman & Clark

  • Pitch Event
  • Innovation
Pitch to Ditch

Business BarCamp

Business BarCamp hosted by Middleton Chamber of Commerce BarCamp is an ad-hoc unconference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. You may have previously attended a BarCamp focused on technology, music, or even gaming. The Middleton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to collaborate with Forward Festival 2017 to bring you our second annual Business BarCamp. Attendees will participate in business focused breakout sessions hosted...

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Kromrey Middle School

Business BarCamp

Technology and Regional Planning

A Greater Madison Vision is an exciting region-wide conversation on growth and development. The region is growing and changing rapidly, and we are trying to envision a wide range of potential future changes and plan for a region that works for everyone. Join us for an immersive regional planning experience, where you can play a "Sim Region"-type computer game, design neighborhoods with model blocks (and experience your new neighborhood...

2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

DreamBank (American Family Insurance)

Technology and Regional Planning

Pressure Chamber

Pressure Chamber returns for its fourth year as emerging companies again compete for the coveted “golden suitcase,” as well as an all-expenses paid spot on the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s exclusive Madison-area startup delegation to San Francisco this October for meetings with top Silicon Valley investment firms. In its three years, participating Pressure Chamber companies have gone on to raise more than $100 million from investors, and each Pressure Chambe...

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Overture Center

  • Pitch Event
  • Startup
  • Investment
  • Showcase
Pressure Chamber

neXXpo

Experience what’s next in business at neXXpo 2017, a celebration of innovation in Greater Madison. Join hundreds of attendees in checking out creative, cutting-edge businesses at our “innovation hubs” and casting your vote for the second annual Most Innovative Company (MIC) award. The finalists will be announced at neXXpo, with the MIC being awarded to the champion later this year at our special nex7 Stage event. For attendees, you can help y...

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Overture Center

  • Social
  • Innovation
  • Showcase
  • Celebration
neXXpo

Wisconsin Games Alliance Social

The Wisconsin Games Alliance hosts quarterly social events to further solidify the Madison and Wisconsin game development community. All are welcome to attend these casual social events to network and make friends with area game developers and industry professionals.

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

North Street Cabaret

  • Social
Wisconsin Games Alliance Social

ART+ Mass

ART+ Mass will offer a dialogue on art as a lens and tool for exploring and documenting new discoveries in particle physics. The panel will feature:• Artist Sonja Thomsen, whose immersive lobby installation at MMoCA is meant to transform a viewer's encounters with light, space, time, and movement. Thomsen's interest lies in “creating spaces that highlight the inaccessible. There should always be a place for wonder; it is a direct line...

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

MMOCA

  • Social
  • Focused Discussion
ART+ Mass

Doyenne Mentor Match

Sponsored by: Clark & Gotzler
Sponsored by: American Transmission Co.
Sponsored by: Associated Bank
It can be difficult for entrepreneurs to connect with mentors who have the knowledge, skill, and/or time to become a valuable advisor. Doyenne’s Mentor Match expedites this process by matching ready, willing and able mentors with entrepreneurs in need.  Prior to the event, entrepreneurs and mentors apply to find a match. In addition to providing bios and background information, each indicates their specific areas of need or ex...

5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Hotel RED

  • Mentor
  • Social
  • Focused Discussions
Doyenne Mentor Match

Mead, Music, and Microfinance

This is a fundraiser for Wisconsin Microfinance that will feature Unity the Band, along with other bands opening for them, performing reggae music. Guests will be invited to try mead and a featured island-inspired cocktail. It will be a fun happy hour/Monday night concert. Recommended donation of $15 at the door.

6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Bos Meadery

  • Social
Mead, Music, and Microfinance

Aug 22, 2017

Forward Summit: Breath For Change - Yoga and Mindfulness Class

Do you want to show up to this event present, collected, ready to learn and excited to collaborate? Take time for yourself! Your well-being matters and positively impacts those around you. During this one-hour yoga and meditation practice hosted by Breathe for Change, you'll be lead through a brief meditation followed by an asana practice. All are welcome! Feel free to come in whatever you are comfortable wearing - yoga...

7:30 am – 8:30 am

1st floor deck overlooking the lake at the Memorial Union

  • Yoga
Forward Summit: Breath For Change - Yoga and Mindfulness Class

Forward Summit: Kids STEAM Programming

Kids STEAM programming including meeper BOTS, engineering challenges and more! Ticket includes snack, lunch, and ice cream break. Parents are welcome to stop by during the day, or pick up at 3:00 pm. Intended for kids ages 4-14, the day will include programming from community partners and volunteers at Memorial Union during the Forward Summit.

8:30 am – 3:00 pm

Forward Summit: Kids STEAM Programming

Forward Summit: Forward Technology Conference

The headline tech conference of the Forward Festival, the Forward Technology Conference (FTC) is geared toward startup founders, tech geeks, and those wanting to build successful technology companies. Whether you’re thinking about launching a startup business or you’re an experienced entrepreneur, you’ll find this conference relevant and insightful.  FTC is by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. You’ll get real perspective from tech startup leaders who are actu...

8:30 am – 3:45 pm

Memorial Union

  • Conference
  • Panel
Forward Summit: Forward Technology Conference

Forward Summit: BigDataWisconsin Conference

Back in 2016, the organizers of several Big Data Groups across Wisconsin all had the same thought: It’s high time for an event we can call our own to help nurture and grow the state of Big Data use and expertise right here in Wisconsin. A few vendors joined in to help with the task and the result was the inaugural BigDataWisconsin Conference.  It was such a success that we...

9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Memorial Union Terrace

  • Scientist
  • Developer
  • Conference
Forward Summit: BigDataWisconsin Conference

Forward Summit: Data for Impact

SMALL DATA CAN MAKE A BIG IMPACTData has transformed the way we work, interact, engage, and communicate— it’s amazing for its power to change and terrifying for its power to codify existing privileges and prejudices.  We live in times of unparalleled access to data and information, that provides a world of possibilities, and a super-powered dose of responsibilities. #DataForImpactIf you believe that data can be used to ma...

8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Memorial Union

  • Focused Discussions
  • Conference
  • Panel
  • DataViz
  • SocialEnt
  • Nonprofit
  • NGO
  • Analytics
  • Tech/Software
Forward Summit: Data for Impact

Forward Summit: Madison Tech Meetups

While the Forward Technology Conference is an anchor event during Forward Festival, we heard from attendees who wanted additional opportunities to learn about technology beyond entrepreneurship. We reached out to Madison area Meetup groups to partner on creating a full tech track on issues from software to hardware.  Many thanks to our Meetup partners: Internet of Things - Madison, Ionic Madison, Madhackers, Madison Women in Tech, MASD (Madison Area...

8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Memorial Union

  • meetups
  • Social
Forward Summit: Madison Tech Meetups

Forward Summit: Forward Festival Startup Showcase

The Forward Festival Startup Showcase features an evening of startup pitches from some of Madison's most compelling emerging companies. A select group of rising startups will give a 5-minute "demo day" style pitch showcasing their company. In addition, over 15 Startup Showcase alumni from past years will take part in a lightning round of 1-minute update pitches highlighting their recent successes. The Startup Showcase is a high energy stage that celebrates...

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Memorial Union

  • Pitch Event
  • Social
Forward Summit: Forward Festival Startup Showcase

Aug 23, 2017

UW-Madison Business Engagement Day on Campus

Register now for UW–Madison’s premier business engagement event. Take this opportunity to connect with UW–Madison business engagement teams along with companies already deploying UW resources. We’ve designed a fast-moving event with interactive sessions, an inside look at some amazing Badger innovations, and time for you to meet with content experts. Develop next steps for beginning or expanding your relationship with UW–Madison Improve awareness of the breadth of...

8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Union South

  • Conference
UW-Madison Business Engagement Day on Campus

Badger Fund Manager Meet and Greet

Venture capital fund managers from four new Wisconsin venture capital funds will be at the August 23rd Jazz at Five performance on the corner of State and Capital. The Badger Fund of Funds is sponsoring the event and will provide beer and pizza for attendees at no cost. Come enjoy a beautiful Wisconsin evening and engage in some hot conversation about the Money for Minnows investments strategy and the future...

4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Corner of State Street and the Capital Square

Badger Fund Manager Meet and Greet

What’s Brewing in Trademark Law?

As a start-up, you’re likely aware that trademarks are a key aspect of protecting the viability of your company as it grows.  But how do trademarks really work, and what strategies should you implement to ensure your brands and products hold steadfast, advantageous positions in the market?  In “What’s Brewing in Trademark Law” we turn to an industry overflowing with concrete examples of trademark strategy in action.&...

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Offices of Boardman & Clark

  • Social
  • Focused Discussion
What’s Brewing in Trademark Law?

Community Shares of Wisconsin Happy Hour: Learn about the innovative project "The Big Share"

This year Community Shares of Wisconsin and it's 66 member nonprofits raised a record breaking amount of $322,000 in 24 hours through The Big Share. Come and learn more about the innovative fundraising project, meet local nonprofits that participated in the big day, and see some of the videos produced by members in part from a generous grant provided by American Family Insurance Dream's Foundation.

5:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Plan B

  • Social
Community Shares of Wisconsin Happy Hour: Learn about the innovative project "The Big Share"

Healthtech Capitol Presents: Healthtech Hob Nob

Healthcare is a difficult industry to navigate and can be overwhelming for first time healthcare entrepreneurs.  These barriers often discourage entrepreneurs from jumping into healthcare in the first place, but not the team of entrepreneurs we have assembled.  Join us as we learn from a panel of “up-and-coming” healthcare entrepreneurs and healthcare investors as they tell us their story about how they formed their company, challenges they have face...

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Findorff

  • Panel
  • Social
  • Technology
Healthtech Capitol Presents: Healthtech Hob Nob

The Dolphin Tank: Madison

Sponsored by: Godfrey & Kahn
Springboard Enterprises Dolphin Tank® programs are “helpful feedback-driven” pitch sessions for entrepreneurs to receive constructive insights from knowledgeable professionals. Dolphin Tanks aren’t about sharks, piranhas, dragons, or competing for the best idea – they’re about channeling the expertise of the people in the room. The Dolphin Tank is an interactive discussion led by an expert panel that focuses on one thing: “How can we help?” The objective is to provide connect...

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

100State Coworking Space

  • Pitch Event
The Dolphin Tank: Madison

ProductTank Madison - 2 Founders on Identifying & Vetting Product Opportunities

Hear from two founders and CEOs from the healthcare IT industry to hear their perspective on providing solutions to customers' problems as opposed to selling them products. As part of this discussion they will share their experiences of identifying and vetting new product or company opportunities, and when to listen to customers and when to deviate from what they are asking for. Speakers: Shree Kalluri, Founder, CEO, and Chief Customer...

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

  • Founder
  • Developer
  • Mentor
  • Startup
  • Investor
  • Social
  • Introductory
  • Showcase
  • Show
  • Pitch
 ProductTank Madison - 2 Founders on Identifying & Vetting Product Opportunities

Community Supported Entrepreneurism

Madison has a strong supporting community consisting of graphic designers, lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, and insurance agents, etc., who are more than willing to help a new businesses grow. While these services may not be core to the products or software, they are essential to successful business startup and growth. This session will discuss the strength professional organizations bring to the entrepreneurial community and look at ways to increase the...

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

  • Founder
  • Mentor
  • Community
Community Supported Entrepreneurism

Pitch Night X PechaKucha

In just 6 minutes and 40 seconds, speakers from the entrepreneur ecosystem will share their latest ideas, innovations and plans for the future. Join us for “Pitch Night x PechaKucha” and be the first to hear from Madison’s developing startup business community.

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Monona Terrace

  • Pitch Event
Pitch Night X PechaKucha

Hacking Healthcare

Sponsored by: Epic
Pack your problem-solving pants for a hackathon-style day of grass-roots collaboration and ideas starting with creative minds from the Forward Fest crowd. This is a collaborative event that goes beyond a strict computer coding competition, though software designers are encouraged to join. It is a chance to multiply your personal insights and tackle healthcare’s trickiest challenges with like-minded innovators, developers, designers, and entrepreneurs. 

8:30 am – 6:00 pm

Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

  • Hackathon
Hacking Healthcare

Aug 24, 2017

Doyenne Group 5x5x5 Pitch Event

Sponsored by: Neider & Boucher
Sponsored by: Field59
Each year Doyenne opens an application for women-led businesses based in Wisconsin, in all industries, to apply to pitch their business during Madison’s Forward Festival, for a chance to be awarded a $5,000 Seed Grant. Five women-led businesses each have five minutes to pitch their business

8:30 am – 10:00 am

Grainger Hall

  • Pitch Event
  • Social
  • Innovation
Doyenne Group 5x5x5 Pitch Event

Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social

Join Capital Entrepreneurs as we wrap up the 2017 Forward Festival with a rooftop celebration on the Capitol Square. Come mingle with Madison’s up-and-coming innovators working on a wide variety of interesting startups at the annual Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social. Enjoy great networking and Capitol views from Boardman & Clark's beautiful rooftop terrace, as well as a variety of taps from local brewers and snacks from local producers.

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

US Bank Building

  • Social
Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social

Brew, Bites & Bytes

The Wisconsin Tech Council is celebrating everything that is great about summer in Wisconsin – craft beer, live music, great food, the beautiful outdoors – and Wisconsin’s great climate for innovation.

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Wisconsin Brewing Co.

  • Social
  • Innovation
  • Live music
Brew, Bites & Bytes