State Controller John Chiang and former CalPERS Board of Administration member Tony Oliveira will speak Thursday, Nov. 3, at the sixth annual Central California Venture Forum, a collaboration between the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at California State University, Fresno, and Central Valley Fund.

It will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Tower Theater in Fresno. The cost is $50 before Oct. 15 ($75 after), which includes lunch and reception. Students can register for $20 through the Lyles Center. Seating is limited.

The forum will include several panels including “Our Hispanic Business Secret: Double Digit Growth in the Down Economy.”

Other panel topics are “How to Raise Investment Capital” and “What’s Next with the Central Valley Economy.”

Presenters will include public policy leaders, “angel” investors, venture capitalists, Central Valley entrepreneurs, business owners, lawyers, accountants, bankers and community leaders. They will share advice, information and strategies for both surviving and thriving through the extended economic downturn, said Dr. Timothy M. Stearns, executive director of the Lyles Center.

Chiang’s luncheon address will focus on “Strategies for Fixing California,” while morning keynote speaker Oliveira, also a Kings County Supervisor and agricultural entrepreneur, will discuss “Venture Capital and Private Equity Opportunities in the Central Valley.”

The forum also will feature the annual Valley Entrepreneur Showcase in which five new or early-stage businesses present to a panel of investors in competition for best in show.

“This conference provides the only venue in the Central Valley for the growth companies to demonstrate their readiness for private equity investment,” Stearns said. “Entrepreneurs can learn and make valuable connections in this powerful yet informal setting.”

To participate in the Valley Entrepreneur Showcase, companies can apply via Tickets and more details are also available at the website.

Additional information is available by contacting Nancy Kobata, 559.294.2045 or