Startup Champions Network Summits

Twice annually, Startup Champion Network members meet in-person to connect, share knowledge/experiences and take a deep, behind-the-scenes dive into the local host ecosystem.  This personal interaction is a critical part of the member value-proposition as well as an important commitment all members make -- to celebrate each other.

These 2.5 day intimate gatherings bring together the nation's top ecosystem builders and national ecosystem support organizations to convene conversations, gain insight from real world case studies, and explore and experience new communities, against the backdrops of some of the nation's top emerging ecosystems.

We're looking forward to spending time again with our growing network of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building professionals this Fall in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Madison SCN Summit has 3 fundamental goals:

  • Help Ecosystem Builders connect with key peers and resources

  • Improve Ecosystem Builders' knowledge and best practices

  • Help Ecosystem Builders develop mission-critical skills

Additional summit content includes relevant topics to members including:

  • Inclusive Entrepreneurship

  • Changing a community's culture to believe in possibility

  • Fostering collaboration

  • Engaging and empowering under-represented populations

  • Leading coalition support for entrepreneurship and innovation

  • Funding your ecosystem building efforts

  • Forging stronger startup teams

  • Creating mentor-driven networks

  • Unlocking local/regional capital and attracting outside capital

  • Supporting and connecting with corporate innovators

  • And more topics/best-practices from Members


Madison, Wisconsin
September 17-19, 2019

We're headed to Madison, Wisconsin!

The SCN Madison Summit will explore how ecosystem builders foster trust, form genuine collaborations, and address obstacles and challenges together. We will put Madison on display as an example, while inviting you into our work to all learn from each other. The summit will explore how Madison’s “doers” are building the ecosystem by:

  • Developing a diverse new generation of ecosystem champions

  • Creating resources and opportunities through collaborations

  • Weaving a coherent and collective story about our ecosystem and its impact

The event will bring together startup leaders, meetup organizers, government and academic stakeholders, investors, Fortune 500 directors, philanthropists from Madison and around the country to share best practices in ecosystem building. Participants will leave Madison with two to five strategies to strengthen local entrepreneurship ecosystems.


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Madison is one of the most entrepreneurial cities on the planet. The Center for American Entrepreneurship ranks Madison 14th worldwide for venture capital deals per capita and 40th for venture capital dollars per capita.

It is a growing technology economy and the region is home to the headquarters of Epic Systems, American Family Insurance, American Girl, Sub-Zero, Lands' End, and regionals office for Google, Microsoft, and Zendesk. It boosts the University Research Park, which is a hotbed of activity for many biotech and health systems startups too.

With entrepreneurship centric events and activities like The Forward Festival, Madison Startup Fair, and the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference, the city is poised to take its place among the likes of Austin and Boulder as a small but mighty leader in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Madison is the capital of the state of Wisconsin, the seat of Dane County and the second largest city in Wisconsin with over 250,000 residents. It is home to nationally recognized academics and athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Madison was named the most bike friendly city; consistently named by Livibility as the top city to live, it's Dane County Farmer’s Market is one of the largest in the nation; and the city has the most restaurants per capita of any U.S. city.



Building Grassroots Ecosystems by Mobilizing Collective Wisdom

Hosted by StartingBlock and Doyenne Group

TUESday, september 17(Day 1 theme: building the summit community)

  • 12:00-3:00 PM - Pre-summit programming: Revenue Models workshop

    (this workshop is hosted by Make Startups and is a fundraiser for SCN)

  • 2:00-4:00 PM - Summit Registration

  • 3:00-4:00 PM New Member Orientation

  • 4:00-6:00 PM - Summit Kickoff & True Colors Personality Workshop

  • 6:30-8:00 PM - Dinner with Curated Groups

WEDNESDAY, september 18 (Day 2 theme: Digging into the Work of Building Startup Ecosystems)

  • 8:30-9:00 AM - Welcome & Setting the Stage (Continental Breakfast)

    • Activity: Summarize Personality Activity Feedback

  • 9:00-10:00 AM - Inter-Cultural Unity (ICU) Workshop

  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Exploring Key Theme (Simultaneous Workshops)

    • #1: Navigating Conflict and Leveraging its Benefits 

    • #2: Valuing your Ecosystem Building Services

    • #3: Storytelling for Clarity and Engagement

    • #4: Listening to Diverse Audiences

  • 12:00-1:00 PM - Boxed Lunch & Registration for Case Study Session

  • 1:00-4:00 PM - Live Madison Case Studies Based on Key Themes

    Each of the morning themes will have two live case studies with local Madison ecosystem builders, using the framework from the morning workshops. The morning facilitators will lead conversations. The live case study conversations will take place at a popular Madison location

  • 4:00-5:00 PM - Madison Site-Seeing Activity

  • 6:30-8:00 PM - Dinner with Local Leaders

    Local leaders will host small group dinners at a popular Madison restaurant

  • 8:00-10:00 PM - Evening Social

THURsday, september 19 (Day 3 Theme: Action plans)

  • 9:30-9:45 AM - Welcome & Setting the Stage (Continental Breakfast)

  • 9:45-11:00 AM - Exploring Key Themes: #4: Pitching to Corporate Sponsors

    • Option 1:  How do sponsors make decisions?

    • Option 2:  How to create alternative revenue sources

  • 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Crafting My Action Plan

    • Step 1: Review and identify 5 actions steps 

    • Step 2: Find 2 others who are working on similar actions

  • 12:15-1:30 PM - Lunch & Closing Remarks


The SCN Summit is an invitation only event for members of our network who are ecosystem builders, startup champions, and partners. Want to join our network and attend the Summit? Click below to get started.


Your registration fee covers all daytime events, including several meals. Champions will be responsible for their own travel, lodging, snacks, and drinks each night.

Bringing Guests and/or Sending Someone in Your Place

All meeting attendees must be fully registered members of the Startup Champions Network or have received an official invitation to attend.  If there is someone you would like to invite/send who is not a member, please reach out to us here. We are aiming to keep this event small to maximize relationship building and maintain budget sustainability.


Getting around Madison can be done via the city’s Metro Transit bus, Uber, Lyft, and taxi.


Dane County Regional Airport is a civil-military airport located six miles northeast of downtown Madison.


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Want to help coordinate your lodging and travel with others? Check the newsletters, our private Facebook group or email an organizer for the link to our travel form.  

Past Summits:

Portland, Oregon (Spring 2019)
hosted by Portland Incubator Experiment

Denver, Colorado (Fall 2018)
hosted by Denver Startup Week

Chattanooga, Tennessee (Spring 2018)
hosted by Co.Lab / Edney Innovation Center

Fargo, North Dakota (Fall 2017)
hosted by Emerging Prairie

Tampa, Florida (Winter 2017)
hosted by Tampa Bay WaVE

Baltimore, Maryland (Fall 2016)
hosted by Startup Maryland

Santa Barbara, California (Winter 2016)
hosted by StartupSB

Portland, Maine (Summer 2015)
hosted by Maine Accelerates Growth

Little Rock, Arkansas (Spring 2015)
hosted by The Venture Center

Nashville, Tennessee (Summer 2014)
hosted by the Nashville Entrepreneurial Center

Apply to Host a Future Startup Champions Network Summit