Guest Column: FastPitch competition

Michael Verhulst made the pitch for MySecureDelivery at FastPitch held at NIU Rockford Thursday, June 21. The panel of 15 judges picked MySecureDelivery from the 13 participants for the check of $5,000. (Photo by P.J. Francis)

By Chris Wachowiak
Kryptonite Bar Owner

The evening of June 20, I had the opportunity to participate in a FastPitch competition geared for entrepreneurs, and it was an amazing opportunity and event. Here is what I took away from it:

An opportunity to voice my newest concept in front of people.

An even greater opportunity because this crowd was my greatest potential client for my new business.

I had an opportunity to fine tune my pitch.

I received extremely valuable feedback and opportunity for growth in my craft.

I received amazing opportunity to build connections and contacts with like-minded people and resources.

And I received motivation/encouragement that the path I’m forging is the path I want to fine tune and create for myself.

FastPitch is a competition put on by EIGERLab, and sponsored by many local businesses creating an outlet for entrepreneurs to briefly pitch their business idea to a panel of respected area business and community leaders in a chance to win $5,000 cash along with an opportunity to be heard and grow their idea. The event offered practice, teaching, support, encouragement and opportunity and education for almost no cost to those willing to try.

I found out about this event from Pablo Korona on the day of the training day, two hours before their class. I sent e-mails immediately after learning and made phone calls about this opportunity.

And I’m grateful Sherry Pritz created and allowed me the opportunity to participate on such short notice.

Two hours later, I was sitting in a training room with 30-plus similar dreamers, finding a unique way to start and grow our businesses.

Sherry had some area mentors in the audience to help us fine tune our 3-minute “FastPitch.” We were instructed how to present and then allowed to present our pitch to some successful businessmen and band of would-be entrepreneurs. These mentors offered feedback and suggestions to better our performance and further our opportunity toward success.

A week later, it was “game time.” You pitch in an assigned classroom in front of a small panel of area business and community leaders who hang on your every word, while paying attention to your body language, tone, and message for 3 minutes. They then field you with another 3 minutes of questions specific to your presentation.

From there, you have an exhibition area where you can showcase your business, because in the presentation, you are not allowed much for visual aids.

After everyone pitches, the votes are tallied and all the competitors are rallied up in an auditorium where the 13 finalists are announced, then later compete in front of everyone and more. After those fast-pitches were executed, we had the opportunity to listen to a keynote address by one of the founders of SAVANT, Tom Muldowney, who gave not only some clever business poetry but some valuable business insights.

All in all, it was an amazing opportunity of growth and exposure for aspiring entrepreneurs. I am extremely grateful, and I would urge those who have considered being an entrepreneur to attend or participate. For, remember, as in life, nothing ventured — nothing gained!

Two more opportunities in the near future await you if you are interested in competing or learning more about “FastPitch”:

In Wisconsin’s Rock and Walworth counties, Wednesday, Aug. 8. Training dates: July 13, 20 & 25. Visit

In Racine and Kenosha, Wis., Wednesday, Aug. 29. Training dates: Aug. 14 and 15.

For info, visit

From the June 27-July 3, 2012, issue

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