November 27, 2018 | By Betsy Lundgren | Back to news

The Business Badger community had a strong showing at this year’s Early Stage Symposium (ESS), an event hosted by the Wisconsin Technology Council that presents opportunities for innovators, companies, and entrepreneurs to connect with investors from Wisconsin and around the country.

More than 500 people attended ESS, including several Wisconsin School of Business students, alumni, and board members—many of whom are associated with the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship and contributed to the event as featured speakers, panelists, and award winners.

“All of us at the Weinert Center are extremely proud of the contributions of the many successful entrepreneurs, investors, alumni, and partners who are affiliated with the Center. Their contributions to the private sector, the Wisconsin School of Business, and the community at large represent a collective spirit of innovation and generosity.”

—Dan Olszewski, director of the Weinert Center

Business Badgers made the following noteworthy accomplishments at ESS:

  • Erin Tenderholt (BBA ’19), a double major in entrepreneurship and risk management and insurance, won the Elevator Pitch Olympics for Blexx Technology, a company she founded that offers a new tool to dispose of used hypodermic needles.
  • Five alumni companies were featured in the Investors’ Network Track, which showcased 24 companies from the Midwest representing an array of industries: SmartBurn, OnLume, C-Motive Technologies, Imbed Biosciences, and Pyran.
  • John Neis (M.S. ’86), a Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship (WAVE) board member and former member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at WSB, was inducted into the Wisconsin Investor Hall of Fame. Neis helped build Venture Investors LLC into Wisconsin’s largest venture capital fund.
  • Terry Sivesind (B.S. ’75, MBA ’85), a WAVE board member, serial entrepreneur, and co-founder of Wisconsin Investment Partners and MERLIN Mentors, accepted the Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education (Triple E) award.
  • Aaron Kennedy (MBA ’89), a Weinert Center board member, served as a keynote speaker. Kennedy is the founder of Noodles, Inc., an advisor to Blackstone Entrepreneurial Network, and a previous winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
  • WSB alumnus Nic Herdrich (BBA ’05, JD ’15), an attorney at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, participated in a panel discussion, as did Ankit Agarwal, founder and CEO of Imbed Biosciences, Inc., who completed WSB’s Morgridge Entrepreneurial Bootcamp (MEB) in 2009.
  • Greg Lynch, a WAVE board member and partner with Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, co-chaired ESS.

The Early Stage Symposium took place November 7-8, 2018, at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison.


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