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Save the Date - Midwest SME Forum 2018 - Thursday, May 24, 2018 in Hoffman Estates. 

More information to follow soon.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the SME Forum in 2017.



8:30 am - 3:30 pm: SME Forum



Northern Illinois University, Hoffman Estates

5555 Trillium Blvd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192

More information following soon!


Midwest SME Forum 

$ 110 for Members
$ 145 for Non-members

Please note that all sales are final. 




Check out the agenda from last year's SME Forum!

8:30am –

Registration & Networking Breakfast

9:30am –

Welcome & Keynote

"German Companies Abroad: Global Investment Strategies"

Achim Wolper 

KPMG will present the results of their brand-new study
Investment Report 2016

10:45am – 11:15am

Networking Coffee Break

11:15am – 12:30pm

Morning Breakout Session (choose 1 of 2)

Session 1: 

Universities & Startups:
Driving Innovation through partnerships

  • See how companies work with strategic partners to gain competitive advantages
  • Learn how to innovate through partnerships 
  • Hear what role digitalization plays in innovation strategies for SMEs

Philipp Herrmann
Founder & CEO
etventure Corporate Innovation  GmbH

Chuck Medhurst
President & General Manager
BMW Technology Corporation

Bill Fienup
Managing Director

 John Winzeler
President & Owner
  Winzeler Gear

Session 2: 

Forget Foosball Tables:
Effective Ways to recruit and retain (young) talent

  • Explore strategies to attract and keep talent, including Millenials
  • Get insights into overcoming the skills gap
  • Learn how to keep your talent motivated

Christiane Bock
Vice President Insurance Services, Employee Benefits
                  Mesirow Financial                                       

Tom Christman
Exec. Director, Executive Recruiting
JP Morgan

         Mollie Dowling           
Executive Director, 
OAI Inc.

Geoffrey Somary
President & CEO, 

Tracey Watt
Midwest Strategy Director

12:30pm – 1:45pm      

Networking Lunch

1:45pm –

Afternoon Breakout Session (choose 1 of 2)

Session 3: 

Business Success on a Budget:
International Marketing Strategies

  • Hear how to effectively market to the global customer
  • Understand cultural differences between marketing in the US and other countries
  • Learn how to transfer your brand values to different markets

Manuel Merkt
Executive Vice President Operations
Hermle Machine Company

Andrew Strauchen 
Vice President - Marketing & Business Development North America

Christa Tiefenbacher-Hudson
Co-founder & Managing Director
Triple Ink

Ralf Weber
President & CEO, 
m/e brand communication GmbH GWA

Session 4: 

Successful Growth:
Opportunities and Challenges of M&A

  • Explore how to grow your business through mergers and acquisitions
  • Hear best practise examples
  • Learn about common pitfalls in the M&A field

James Knudson
Partner Assurance Services, 

Christoph Sitzer
Hegele Logistic LLC

Darragh Staunton
President & Group COO
BBS Automation 

Jennifer Watson
Masuda Funai

3:00pm –

Wrap up & Networking     


Annual Members Meeting


Kirsten Schmandt
Manager, Events & Membership
Tel.: +1 (312) 494-2176

2017 Attendee Overview

Sponsorship Opportunities

Please take the time to review the various sponsorship levels and benefits and secure your place at the Midwest SME Forum 2018.