The 2014 edition of the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium will take place on November 12-13 at Monona Terrace in Madison. At the event, startups will have the opportunity to make presentations, meet and exchange ideas with other entrepreneurs and try to attract investors. Among the speakers will be François Ortalo-Magné, dean of the Wisconsin School of Business.

Some two dozen companies have been selected for presentations by the Wisconsin Angel Network, and several more will take part in an event called the "Elevator Pitch Olympics," where investors and judges will rate and provide feedback on their 90-second pitches. The Symposium will also feature a variety of panel discussions and other smaller sessions, including the opportunity for one-on-one meetings between entrepreneurs and industry insiders.

A "First Look" forum will showcase business ideas from Wisconsin's universities, and more than 40 success stories will be featured in an exhibit hall. Lastly, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will host an awards luncheon to recognize the recipients of last year's Small Business Innovation Research grants.

The event has been in existence under different names for 30 years, and the list of companies that have made successful starts includes software developer Sonic Foundry, which was purchased in 2003 by Sony, and biotech manufacturer Promega. The Symposium showcases startups in health and natural sciences, manufacturing and technology.

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