By Steve Jagler Special to Published Sep 28, 2006 at 10:01 AM
You step into an elevator in one of Milwaukee’s tallest office buildings. OK, you’ve only got a few seconds to describe your profession, your business or your ambitions to the other person in the elevator before the door opens again and lets one of you out.

Ready and … Go!

Savvy professionals call that your “elevator pitch,” and rehearsing and polishing that brief self-introduction can transform chance encounters at receptions, luncheons and cocktail parties into productive networking relationships.

Budding entrepreneurs have a couple of opportunities to present polished elevator pitches and secure financing and other assistance to grow their companies.

The second annual Elevator Pitch Olympics, to be held Oct. 30-31 at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium in Madison, will feature more than a dozen angel and venture capitalists from four states who will judge companies or entrepreneurs seeking private equity financing.

The event will allow entrepreneurs and early-stage business executives to deliver a 90-second pitch about their company or business idea to the panel of venture capitalists and angel investors.

The Early Stage Symposium will take place at Madison's Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center. Budding entrepreneurs, prospective companies and early-stage firms may register for the event at

Meanwhile, the deadline for southeastern Wisconsin entrepreneurs to submit applications for the second annual LaunchAngel competition has been extended to Nov. 30.

LaunchAngel awards one entrepreneurial venture in the region with a launch package of business-building products and services. This year's package is valued at more than $25,000.

LaunchAngel is the brainchild of Anna Baxter Kirk, founder and president of Launchpad MCPR Inc.

"Word about the LaunchAngel program is still spreading, and we want to make sure that entrepreneurs in southeastern Wisconsin have adequate time to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to jumpstart their business," Kirk said.

This year's winner will receive a package that will include marketing communication and public relations services; legal counsel; accounting counsel and completion of first-year tax returns; advertising in Small Business Times and a booth at the Wisconsin Business and Technology Expo; advertising on; a business plan review for securing financing, a free business checking account and a meeting with a Park Bank commercial banker; a copy of QuickBooks software and QuickBooks  training; classes offered by Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corp. (WWIBC) and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Small Business Development Center; a retirement plan consultation; logo and collateral material design; paper and printing of letterhead, envelopes, business cards and brochures; 10 suites of FinalCRM online customer relationship management software; interior design and architecture  services; and interactive and/or experiential marketing consultation.

New this year, two runners-up each will receive a small launch package, each valued at about $1,000.

Local companies and organizations that have signed on to provide complimentary products and/or services for the program include: Launchpad MCPR, Small Business Times, Park  Bank, the WWIBC, Special Editions, the Ed  McGuire/Principal Financial Group, the UWM Small Business Development Center, Sondra Safer C.P.A., Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren S.C., Diversified Management Services, Weiss Design Studio, Brevient Technologies, Cieslik Celek Interior Design, NLTK  Architects, and Fullhouse Interactive.

An application and additional information can be downloaded from the program's Web site:

- Steve Jagler is the executive editor of Small Business Times. He can be reached at
Steve Jagler Special to

Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes in Milwaukee and is past president of the Milwaukee Press Club. BizTimes provides news and operational insight for the owners and managers of privately held companies throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Steve has won several journalism awards as a reporter, a columnist and an editor. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

When he is not pursuing the news, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristi, and their two sons, Justin and James. Steve can be reached at