Former San Francisco 49er and successful entrepreneur Ronnie Lott will be the keynote speaker at the 8th Annual Central Valley Venture Forum (CVVF), 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tues. Oct. 29 at the Save Mart Center.

Dr. Jeffrey Michael, director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of Pacific, will serve as the event’s luncheon speaker.

CVVF is a collaboration between the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fresno State and Central Valley Fund.

Lott will talk at 10:30 a.m. about “Total Impact: Lessons from the Gridiron for Business,” and Dr. Michael discusses “The Road Ahead for Central and Northern California: Economic Analysis for Business Planning” at 12:15 p.m.

The forum will also include the panel “Hispanic Business Growth: Successes Shared and Lessons Learned,” as well as a panel of women business leaders and CEOs. Other sessions will cover how to raise investment capital in the Valley.

Presenters will include public policy leaders, angel investors, venture capitalists, Central Valley entrepreneurs, business owners, lawyers, accountants, bankers and community leaders.

Dr. Timothy Stearns, executive director of the Lyles Center, said they will share advice, information and strategies for both surviving and thriving in today’s economy

Also featured is the annual Valley Entrepreneur Showcase in which five new or early-stage businesses present in front of attendees to a panel of investors and compete for best in show.

“This conference provides the only venue in the Central Valley for 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.”

Individual tickets, which include lunch and an afternoon reception, cost $70 before Oct. 15 ($75 after). Students can attend for $25. Tickets and more details are available at

For more information, contact Casey Lamonski, event coordinator, 559.917.7971, or Betsy Hays, public relations chair, 559.916.6844,

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