Rockford’s EIGERlab hosts its 8th annual Fastpitch Competition Wednesday, June 18, at the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Medicine at Rockford.
EIGERlab Marketing Coodinator Sherry Pritz compares Fastpitch to the television show “Shark Tank,” where entrants pitch their ideas for a new product or process to a panel of investors.
“It’s Rockford’s version, but our judges are friendlier – we’re “Shark Tank” without the bite – and they’re able to win cash prizes and network with people than can make a difference in their business.”
Pritz says the ideas presented in the three-minute pitches run the gamut from small refinements to an existing product or process to something totally new.
The event attracted around forty entrants this year, which Pritz says is about average. Pritz says even those who don’t win the five thousand dollar top prize have a chance to connect with potential investors, something she says has happened in past competitions.
Pritz says interest in this event, and other like it around the country, has been strong from the beginning.
“It’s just human nature to try to build a better mousetrap. So, this competition is an outlet for those people to test the waters.”
The keynote speaker for this year’s Fastpitch is author, entrepreneur and investor Joe Abraham. Abraham has launched numerous companies and founded BOSI Global, which operates a $100 million portfolio of companies in the United States and Europe, and is the author of “Entrepreneurial DNA,” based on his study of entrepreneurs and their teams.
Initial presentations in the Fastpitch Competition begin at 3:30 P.M., followed by a presenters’ expo, with final presentations at 5:30. Abraham speaks at 6 P.M. Pritz says everyone is welcome to come view the competition, hear Abraham, visit with the participants, and even, perhaps, pitch their own idea to a potential investor.