The Creative Coast’s blogspot is Savannah’s sounding board for local thinkers, innovators, wanderers and wonderers. Normally, guest bloggers share their thoughts, opinions and creative noodling from all over the map, but this week I can’t resist breaking in line and posting about FastPitch 2012. This is truely an amazing event, one which connects entrepreneurs with potential investors, but more important, it helps push emerging entreprenuers into action. For you entreprenuers still sitting on the couch, read on for motivation ….
(Savannah News published this article today, March 28 2012)
Tomorrow, 33 local entrepreneurs will gather at the Coastal Georgia Center to compete for cash, prizes, and the attention of the FastPitch 2012 judging panel. These entrepreneurs and emerging businesses will pitch their ideas to investors from throughout the region with the hope that at least one investor will find their idea intriguing, forge a relationship, and help move their product or service from concept to market. The stakes are high. The pressure is tremendous. The energy will be incredible. And the event is open to the public.
Tomorrow not only marks an important date for those competing, it also serves as an indicator for how vibrant our local business sector has become: this is the second year in a row that more than 100 applicants have turned out for this event.
Late last year, Orjan Isaacson, regional manager of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC); Luke Pittaway, director of Georgia Southern University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership, and I began preparing for tomorrow’s event. We had worked together in 2011 to co-host the FastPitch event and we were overwhelmed by the response we received. More than 100 applications for the 2011 competition were submitted and 40 of those applicants were selected to participate in the event.
While preparing for this year’s event, we debated whether we would have as strong an application pool for 2012. Had we exhausted all our regional talent in 2011? During the ensuing months, we found out that talent within the region is much more robust than we imagined.
For the second year in a row more than 100 applications arrived in our office. For tomorrow’s event, we have selected 33 applicants to compete for cash, prizes, and prestige.
The number of applications is an incredible benchmark. Local entrepreneurs abound, and the programs and efforts throughout the region to cultivate these burgeoning companies are helping develop the local start-up landscape.
The work of The Creative Coast and our counterparts is paying dividends: to see what those dividend look like, attend tomorrow’s FastPitch 2012 competition.
The first step for all FastPitch competitors was to complete a one-page profile of their product or service. The next step was to work one-on-one with a panel of experienced coaches to refine their one-page descriptions and polish their verbal presentations.
The overall goal for each competitor is to show their product or service in the best light possible, and hopefully gain the interest of an investor that is judging (or simply attending) the event. While winning is important, participants know the FastPitch process serves a more important purpose: it is often times the spark necessary to move a start-up from thinking about an idea to actually going to market.
Tomorrow will be exciting, nerve-racking, and emotional. A few competitors will stumble, unable to find the composure to present in front of a panel of judges. The vast majority will step up and perform. The next Jobs, Gates, or Zuckerberg might be in the room tomorrow.
Come see for yourself. FastPitch 2012 is free and open to the public. The event takes place 9 am Thursday March 29 at the Coastal Georgia Center, 35 Fahm Street in Savannah. For more information, visit www.fastpitchcompetition.com.