Tech Summit targets emerging companies

Emerging companies can apply through Feb. 24 to meet with major firms and explore likely business relationships around technology needs and innovation as part of the first annual Wisconsin Tech Summit.

The day-long event will be held Monday, April 7, at the GE Healthcare Institute in Waukesha.

The Tech Summit, produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and partners that include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., is based on the assumption that large and small companies travel in different “orbits,” even if they’re in the same business sectors, and rarely collide except by chance.

The summit will include a series of brief meetings, similar to a “speed-dating” exercise, that will foster communication and partnership.

“In some parts of the country, there are well-established ways for larger companies and emerging firms to connect,” said Toni Sikes, chief executive officer of CODAworx and chair of the Tech Council. “This is a way to enhance that kind of connectivity in Wisconsin and our region. There are benefits to entrepreneurs and major companies alike.”

Major companies will be able to hear from emerging firms with innovative products or services tied to areas such as “big data,” connected devices and data analytics in sectors ranging from health care to information systems, and from power electronics to telecommunications.

“The evolving information needs of major companies may require strategic partnerships with innovative young companies,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “Potential business relationships might include contracting for research and development, becoming part of a larger supply chain, and pursuing investment or acquisition strategies.”

Participating major companies thus far include Rockwell Automation, GE Healthcare, American Family Insurance, HP Enterprise Services, Aurora Healthcare, AT&T, IBM, Faith Technologies and TASC (Total Administrative Services Corp). Others are being invited.

Emerging companies can apply to participate at www.wistechsummit.com. The deadline is Monday, Feb. 24. A selection process involving major companies and the Tech Council will follow. There is no cost to apply. If selected, a company registration fee will be charged; registration discounts will be available at that time for Wisconsin Innovation Network corporate members. Space is limited.

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