Annual Forward Festival Focuses on the ‘Next Big Thing’

(MADISON, Wis.)—Entrepreneurs,creative designers, tech professionals and even foodies will have an opportunity to collaborate Aug. 21-28 at the fifth annual Forward Festival, an eight-day celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“With the growth of the event as well as the involvement of our community, we’re excited to showcase Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem across several industries,” Bryan Chan, festival co-founder and president of SupraNet Communications, said. “The environment is all about promoting and creating the next big thing.”

The festival's main event is the Forward Technology Conference, which takes place Aug. 27 at the Monona Terrace. Jignesh Patel, a UW-Madison professor who sold his software company to Twitter, will be the keynote speaker.

Other highlights of the festival include a pitch contest for female entrepreneurs (Aug. 27), the annual Madison Ruby Conference (Aug. 21-23) and the inaugural Edible Startup Summit (Aug. 25), an event geared toward food entrepreneurs.

Originally started in 2010, the Forward Festival was created by Chan, Nathan Lustig of Magma Partners and Matt Younkle of Murfie to bring together professionals from a wide range of disciplines. That is evident in events such as High Tech Happy Hour (Aug. 21), the Badger Startup Summit (Aug. 26) and the Wisconsin Innovation Awards (Aug. 26).

For a detailed listing of events taking place during the Forward Festival, please visit