‘This is our shot:’ Milwaukee 2020 wants to connect businesses with national, international clients

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MILWAUKEE -- In 282 days, Milwaukee will host the biggest event in city history. More than 2,000 events will take place during the Democratic National Convention -- most outside Fiserv Forum. Now, the host committee is working to connect local businesses with national and even international clients.

When it comes to making connections, Milwaukee 2020 wants to play matchmaker.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

"This is our shot," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "Let's have fun. Let's make some money and let's show off our city."

The host committee is calling on local businesses to get out there and compete for a convention-related contract.

"It is like hosting Thanksgiving. You are going to want to put your best foot forward no matter what your party affiliation is -- no matter which candidate you support," Angela Val, the former Deputy Executive Director of the Philadelphia Host Committee.

Politicians, delegations and the media are all looking for places and spaces to hold convention-related events. That includes everything from meetings to dinners and parties.

Angela Val

"Even if you don't think you're a venue, you might be," Val said.

The women on this panel ran the host committees for the conventions in Cleveland, Philadelphia and the Super Bowl in Minnesota. They say every space, even empty spaces and buildings, have potential.

"There were events in parking lots and grassy areas. There were all kinds of different size events in different places," said Diane Downing, former COO of the Cleveland Host Committee.

"We are getting calls on a regular basis now," said Michelle McCue of the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Milwaukee Art Museum

The Milwaukee 2020 host committee has already made some introductions.

"We've had about a dozen walk-throughs already and are in negotiations with a couple of parties," McCue said.

But there are still hundreds of other interested parties waiting to meet their match.

"Now, we need to wow," said Kristin Godfrey of Hospitality Democracy. "It's worth letting people know all the things we do that don't exist anywhere else."

The overarching message from the Milwaukee 2020 host committee as well at the past experience panel is this. Even if you don't think your business is a venue, it might be. The only way to find out is to let the host committee know you are out there. See the links below to learn more.

Registration information for 2020 DNC in Milwaukee

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