What started as a local county conference has grown into a statewide event to help further Wisconsin's businesses.
Fort McCoy held Monroe County's economic development conference Thursday. It's the conference's third year, with 2014's event coming off the heels of two previously sold-out conferences.
The conference offered the more than 200 people in attendance to network with business owners and others, according to Steve Peterson, Monroe County's economic development coordinator.
"Networking is a big part of it, because you're hearing from people who have been there, done that. That's one thing i think is nice about the businesses in Monroe County - they're willing to share some of their success stories and maybe some of the struggles and maybe help you not make some of the mistakes that maybe they did," he said.
Shane Calmes is one business owner who attended the event. As founder of La Crosse's Advanced Formliners, a company creating concrete textures and bricks, he says the conference helped him get advice from his peers.
"This conference offers me the ability to connect with other people," Calmes said. "It offers the concept of knowing what Wisconsin offers for incentives for small businesses like me."
The conference also featured a keynote address by Gov. Scott Walker. With a dozen different counties at the event, Peterson said the governor's attendance was exemplary of what the conference means to the state.
"The one thing I think our conference has done is it's really been recognized statewide for the quality, and they want to be part of it, they want to talk to the attendees and help promote Wisconsin," Peterson said.