August 19 - 23 • 2024


What is Forward Fest?

The Forward Festival is Wisconsin's largest technology and entrepreneurship festival, attracting more than 5,000 attendees and serving as host for more than 40 events over 5 days every August.

Now in its 14th year, it's the state's flagship celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship for business folks, nerds, social impact innovators, foodies, hackers, entrepreneurs, creatives, problem-solvers, community supporters and more from across the Midwest.

Whether you’re already plugged into the Midwest scene or you’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to sample what the area has to offer, Forward Fest is about bringing the technology and startup communities together to learn, share, and have some fun. The Forward Festival provides the rare opportunity to interact with professionals across a wide range of disciplines and at a variety of events, and is open to everyone.

Mission, Vision & Values


Forward Fest is a 5-day festival in Madison, for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs with locally organized events to connect and inspire innovation featuring all aspects of entrepreneurship.


The Festival promotes Madison as a leading region in entrepreneurial success through supporting the growth of the entrepreneurs by connecting them with organizations, individuals, and the greater community.

Our Core Values

  • Entrepreneurs: Showcase and support local entrepreneurs and those seeking to create businesses.
  • Opportunities: Create opportunities for Entrepreneurs to meet, collaborate, develop rich connections, and have fun together.
  • Growth: Achieve a culture of growth through a number of events targeting diverse entrepreneurs, harnessing and promoting the creative and innovative ideas, and maximizing the avenues in which we expand our entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • Inclusion: Forward Festival welcomes entrepreneurs of every identity and demographic to all levels of participation. This includes design, planning, facilitation, and participation.

Who organizes Forward Fest?

Check out our "Who Are We?" page to learn more about the people and companies who make Forward Fest possible!

How do events work?

Hosted by the community

Forward Fest events are primarily organized by community members, for community members. Some are public, some private; some require a separate registration free, many are free with a festival pass, and some are free for everyone. They range from panels to lectures to workshops to socials, and everything in-between!

In June, information about confirmed events will begin to appear here on the site; be sure to check back!

Interested in hosting your own event?

Check out our FAQ on the Host an Event page!

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Send us an email at to learn more!


Special Thanks To

Event Sponsors