The annual MARKETPLACE conference is a gathering place for minority-, woman-, veteran- and LGBTQ-owned businesses, with a focus on connecting small businesses with resources and knowledge. The 2020 conference is going virtual due to the pandemic, and will make every effort to replicate the learning and relationship building that takes place when the conference is held in person (as with the 2019 event, pictured here).

MARKETPLACE, the Governor’s Conference on Diverse Business Development, will be taking place online from Dec. 8-10, 2020. In response to the pandemic, this event is being offered in a virtual format for the first time in its 39-year history. This flagship annual event focuses on building capabilities, capacity and sales opportunities for small businesses, and in particular minority-, woman-, veteran- and LGBTQ-owned businesses. The conference brings a unique combination of training, education, networking and mentoring, as well as the opportunity to participate in one-on-one meetings with federal, state and local government representatives and corporate buyers to forge connections, develop relationships, discuss current and future opportunities and requirements, and even make deals on the spot.

“This year’s MARKETPLACE will be going virtual, and thus will be able to bring a much broader offering of opportunities to Wisconsin’s minority-, woman-, veteran- and LGBTQ-owned businesses as well as small businesses,” says WEDC Vice President of Business and Community Development Mary Gage. “Each year this conference brings together a broad range of resources for our state’s small businesses to assist in accelerating and strengthening the development of their capabilities and capacity and the opportunity to meet with potential customers from the public and private sectors. The virtual format will make attending and participating in MARKETPLACE possible for businesses throughout the state, with resources and business opportunities from around the country.”

The conference serves businesses of all sizes, with a special focus on helping small business get connected with resources, knowledge and expertise. In this year’s virtual format, the conference will take place over a three-day period, giving companies from across the state time to connect and network through virtual workshops, panel discussions, buyer meetings and much more. The virtual format will bring a broader range of resources, experts, decision-makers and buyers to participate and interact with attending businesses.

The event agenda includes:

  • The Contracting Academy, which will provide technical training to current and developing government prime contractors and subcontractors
  • One-on-one buyer meetings with government and corporate representatives
  • A celebration recognizing diverse Wisconsin businesses’ accomplishments
  • Panel discussions with government and corporate representatives
  • Inspiration and mentoring from fellow business owners
  • Opportunities to connect with a variety of technical and financial resources

Learn more and register at