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

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

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

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.Please reach out to buildingbossesinc@gmail.com to register. 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

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...

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Madison Public Library

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

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

Aug 18, 2017

Challenge Cup : Madison — local qualifier competition hosted by StartingBlock 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...

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

  • Pitch
  • Founder
  • Developer
  • Scientist
  • Mentor
  • Startup
  • Investor
  • Elected
Challenge Cup : Madison — local qualifier competition hosted by StartingBlock Madison

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

Industrious Madison Sneak Peek Tour

This is your chance to get an exclusive first look at Madison’s newest premium coworking space, Industrious, before anyone else. Located in the newly renovated Old National Bank building at 25 W. Main, this group tour will include amazing lake views and Capitol views as well as an opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs over a local craft beer. Come learn more about the community we're building at Industrious and what se...

3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Industrious

  • hard hat tour
  • Social
Industrious Madison Sneak Peek Tour

Live on King Street

Festival Foods Presents Live on King Street with THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS and OUGHT & TROPHY DAD ▸ WHAT: Seven FREE outdoor concerts on Friday nights featuring nationally touring artists.▸ WHERE: On King Street right in front of the Majestic.▸ WHEN: Friday, August 18, doors open at 6:00 pm.▸ WHY: Because live music, summer, and beer were meant to be together. And more importantly, because we love you, Madison....

6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Majestic

Live on King Street

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

Coffee and networking @ 8-8:30a.  Interview with storytelling, video and production experts,   David and Michael Neelsen @ 8:30 - 9:30a. StoryFirst Media is a video content production company helping tell stories for companies like Nordic Consulting, Renaissance Learning, Quad Graphics, University of Chicago, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, TDS, Widen and more. Join StoryFirst Media co-founders Dave & Michael Neelsen as they share their story...

8:00 am – 9:30 am

Widen

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

Aug 19, 2017

#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 Coworking

  • Social
#Parentpreneur Networking

Aug 20, 2017

Aug 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 22, 2017

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 – 4:30 pm

Memorial Union

  • Conference
  • Panel
  • Founder
  • Mentor
  • Startup
  • Innovation
Forward Summit: Forward Technology Conference

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: Startup Showcase and Reception

The Forward Festival Startup Showcase is a high energy stage that celebrates and showcases what's next in Madison's startup ecosystem. It 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. These presenting companies include: - hankr- Hive Social Club- Kilter Rewards- Kurbi- TheoremReach- Building Bosses In addition,...

4:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Memorial Union

  • Pitch Event
  • Social
  • Startup
  • Showcase
  • Celebration
Forward Summit: Startup Showcase and Reception

Aug 23, 2017

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

  • Social
  • Music
  • Venture Capital
Badger Fund Manager Meet and Greet

Community Shares of Wisconsin at Forward Fest: A Focus on Charlottesville

Join Community Shares of Wisconsin for an event focused on local responses to white supremacist violence earlier this month in Charlottesville. The event is hosted as part of The Forward Festival and is sponsored by Dane County Credit Union.   **Note: In light of the white supremacist activities and subsequent violence in Charlottesville, we have shifted this event to focus instead on the ways different organizations and community members are...

5:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Plan B

  • Social
Community Shares of Wisconsin at Forward Fest: A Focus on Charlottesville

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 Happy Hour will bring Young Professionals to the entrepreneurial community and look at ways to increase the connection between...

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Madison Club

  • Founder
  • Mentor
  • Community
  • Social
Community Supported Entrepreneurism

Healthtech Capitol Presents: Healthtech Hob Nob

Sponsored by: Findorff
Sponsored by: Hausmann Johnson
The Health Highway   With some of the top health systems, insurers, manufacturers, researchers and technology companies in the world, the I-94 corridor from Milwaukee to Madison is a leader in health innovation. Join HealthTech Capitol, an initiative of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, for a panel discussion with healthcare leaders on the opportunities and outlook for strengthening Wisconsin’s health innovation ecosystem.   Attendees will also enjoy co...

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Findorff

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

Nerd Nite 051!

Nerd Nite is back from summer vacation! If you’ve never been, this is a monthly-ish informal gathering by nerds and for nerds to celebrate nerdery of all sorts (well, mostly awesome PowerPoints* and drinking). Each month, three presenters come up on stage to talk about the stuff that they’re passionate about and we, the audience, get to marvel at their Check out the website or Facebook event for...

8:00 pm – 10:30 pm

High Noon Saloon

Nerd Nite 051!

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

Social Media Breakfast presents "How Should I Be Using Analytics?"

Learn about the digital marketing metrics you should be watching and what you should be doing with them. Get Found Madison owner Eagan Heath will show you how to get the most out of free Google tools like Analytics, Search Console, Tag Manager and Data Studio, including how to measure the effectiveness of your paid ads and how to re-target previous website visitors.

7:30 am – 9:00 am

Brix & Mortar Coworking

Social Media Breakfast presents "How Should I Be Using Analytics?"

The Dolphin Tank: Madison

Sponsored by: Godfrey & Kahn
Sponsored by: The Doyenne Group
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

The LLC or the C-Corp? What's Right For Your Startup?

The LLC or C-Corp debate has been a heated discussion for years. We’re bringing this debate to a public forum so we can finally settle this once and for all. 2016 Wisconsin Business Lawyer of the Year and drafter of the LLC statute, Attorney Joe Boucher of Neider & Boucher, S.C., debates with corporate governance and securities attorney John Blimling of Quarles & Brady, LLP. With twenty plus years of legal ex...

3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Quarles & Brady

  • Panel
The LLC or the C-Corp? What's Right For Your Startup?

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

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?

Aug 24, 2017

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

Bunker Labs #DroneAround

Bunker Labs #DroneAround is a fun, educational, engaging opportunity for aspiring pilots to fly and learn more about unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also known as “drones.” The event is designed to feature the three innovative drone-technology companies at Bunker Labs: @myPilotTraining, @RapidImagaing & @MenetAero. It will also connect Forward Fest’s business/startup communities and Wisconsin’s emergency management, first responders, public safety, and law enforcement leaders with UW-Madison, the College of Engin...

1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

University Research Park

  • Social
  • drones
Bunker Labs #DroneAround

Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social (and Forward Fest Wrap Party)

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

Boardman & Clark

  • Social
  • Celebration
  • meetups
Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social (and Forward Fest Wrap Party)

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