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FastPitch’s “Secret Sauce” | One of the region’s most visible, highly-anticipated business eve

It’s similar to ABC’s “Shark Tank,” only our judges are friendlier! Local innovators and entrepreneurs are encouraged to share their products, services, apps or “ideas on a napkin” for a chance to win. Whether you win one of the six generous prizes, all participants “win” by gaining exposure, a valuable business pitching experience and the opportunity to conduct market research at the expo!

Answer the six key questions with passion…share your story. Don’t attempt to impress FastPitch’s judges with sky-high projections. Be yourself, convey why you feel this product, service, app, etc. will make a difference. That’s part of the “secret sauce” that FastPitch’s trainers will share during the essential and strongly suggested training sessions. “In the past 11 years, we’ve experienced entrepreneurs win with just an ‘idea on a napkin,’ wowing the judges by sharing both impressive marketing materials, and a convincing vision as to why and how they plan to introduce a cool service or utilitarian product to the world,” shared Sherry Pritz Enderle, FastPitch’s event manager.

Without the sponsors, there wouldn’t be a competition! A large percentage of our sponsors have supported us since the beginning, and we greatly appreciate them all! This year, we’re excited to share First Northern Credit Union is our presenting sponsor! Our signature sponsors include Colorlab Private Label, Growth Dimensions, Midland Bank, Rockford Bank & Trust, Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Savant Capital Management, StateLine Angels, Thinker Ventures, Universal Die Cast, Wipfli and Wood CPAs! For a complete list of our phenomenal sponsors, please visit our FastPitch website page.

Now in its 12th year FastPitch offers entrepreneurs, inventors, startups, pre-startups, existing business owners and students (high school and college) the opportunity to “pitch” their business idea or innovative business to a panel of esteemed judges from the business and investment community. Winners take home not only cash prizes ($5,000 for the first place finisher!), but exposure to investors, business leaders, media, and potential mentors as well. NIU EIGERlab’s FastPitch will be held Wednesday, October 3 at NIU-Rockford.

2017 FastPitch Competition standouts: Where are they now? First place winner, Dr. Trevor Gibbs’ Anestand. “We have finished our design and we’re obtaining quotes for the injection molding. We have an FDA consultant working on FDA registration and creating our quality program. We formed a C Corp and have partnered with investors. Anestand should be launched at the start of the new FDA year which is October.”

Third place winner, Elisabeth Stecki’s Travel Sufficient Alcohol Kits. (TSA-Kit). “We continue to promote TSA-Kits at locale events. In April, we participated as a vendor at Chicago’s Chocolate, Wine & Spirits Tasting Expo. We have submitted three utility and design patents for our TSA-Kits and we are in the process of distributing TSA-Kits nationwide.”

Finalist, Levi Johnston’s Acutrack. “Since I competed in the 2017 Fast Pitch Competition, we have started to test our product in Ace Hardware. We are also working with distributors from across the world seeking innovative new products such as Acutrack. We have hired our first employee, and under the ‘Hardware’ Sector, Acutrack was recognized by Red Herring as one of the 2018 Red Herring Top 100 N. America Awards Finalists!”

Finalist, Dapo Kolawole’s Citispoon. “We launched our beta app in December 2017 and launched our app at Techday NY in May 2018-now available in Apple’s App Store.

In addition to the 2017 FastPitch Competition, we pitched at University of Iowa Alumni Venture School winning 2nd place ($2000). We came in first in the Southeast Chamber of Commerce’s Competition, which also included a Media Marketing package. We also pitched at Founders Live Chicago where we received $5000 in Amazon Web Services credits–much needed for our app! Lastly, we pitched at Startup Grind Chicago!”

Mary Ley’s Styr O Tone musical instruments. “Our goal to make musical instruments from recycled plastics won us a $2000 grant from the Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department with the goal of recycling plastics into usable items.

Since last year’s FastPitch, we are in the process of building our own machines to shred, melt, extrude and compress the plastic to create a variety of musical instruments. We will then begin designing and forging molds from recycled aluminum & steel to produce our musical instruments. It’s a brand new concept to the world & with all of us working together on this, we are confident we’ll be doing great things! Our four-member mastermind team is highly experienced, knowledgeable & passionate about this project.

The FastPitch registration deadline is Thursday, Sept. 20. Presentation training sessions will be held September 25th and 27th (5:30 to 7:30 PM). For full FastPitch Competition details, visit the NIU EIGERlab’s website.

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