SANTA ROSA – Start-up and second-stage companies looking for investment expertise should apply to be a presenter at the Eighth North Bay Growth & Innovation Forum. The event takes place on April 28 and the cutoff for applications is March 12.

Primarily it offers new or growing companies an opportunity to polish an investment pitch, with coaching from business experts before the event and critiques following the pitch. But an outstanding pitch can bring investment funding. Close to $100 million in investment funding has gone to 70 presenting companies at past forums.

Companies looking for advice, strategic partners or other resources, but not quite ready to make investment pitches, can apply to be poster presenters.

The forum, a three-way collaboration between the city of Santa Rosa, the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and the North Bay Angels investment group, brings entrepreneurs together with local business executives and Bay Area investors.

"The program has been very, very popular," said Santa Rosa economic development program specialist Nancy Manchester.

It has received awards on local, state and national levels for innovative entrepreneurial spirit and collaboration, she said.

At least five high-quality investor presentations and 10 poster presentations will be selected. The forum targets clean technology, biomedical and biotechnology advanced technology, health and wellness and food and wine product development.

Presenters, she said, should submit one- to two-page executive summaries to Ms. Manchester at

The event at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel, attended by about 150 entrepreneurs, service providers, angel investors and venture capitalists, will also feature a keynote address from Michael Chobotov, Ph.D., founder of investor-backed TriVascular; presentations from local executives; and roundtable discussions on topics critical to entrepreneurial success.

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