Savannah’s FastPitch organizers are throwing a change-up for the 2013 event.
Organizers of what has quickly become an annual entrepreneurial summit have altered the event’s format. The fifth Savannah FastPitch will feature a new master of ceremonies and venue, a question-and-answer session following each pitch, more extensive pre- and post-event coaching and mentorship for participants and a record prize purse of $6,000.
The event is March 28 at the Savannah Morning New auditorium. Applications are being accepted through 5 p.m. on Feb. 18 through the website fastpitchcompetition.com.
“FastPitch has plenty of traction now; the feedback is the quality of the pitches and the investment propositions are looking more and more attractive,” said Luke Pittaway, FastPitch organizer and the leader of Georgia Southern University’s entrepreneurial development efforts. “We’re learning as we go along and are adjusting accordingly.”
Fastpitch 2013 is open to three classifications of entrepreneurs: students, early-stage and established businesses. Applicants chosen to participate will get three minutes to pitch their idea or business – the fast pitch – followed by a three-minute question-and-answer period led by a three-person panel. The Q&A session’s goal is to allow the pitchers to clarify their positions and share additional information..
“Participants have come away disappointed with their pitches, feeling like they left something out,” said Charisse Bennett, with The Creative Coast, another event organizer. “This gives them instant feedback and a chance to follow up.”
The panelists are Jim Goodlett, Rad Harrell and Jennifer Bonnett.
The extra three minutes per presenter will mean fewer participants. The last two FastPitch events have featured 30 to 40 presenters. But with 2013 FastPitch finalists presenting twice and six minutes per pitch, organizers will limit the field to 25.
Jamie Bowerman, a 2011 FastPitch winner for his convertible backpack, will emcee the event. He replaces outgoing Creative Coast Executive Director Jake Hodesh, whose last day on the job is Thursday. Hodesh assumes his new role with an organization similar to the Creative Coast in Cincinnati, Ohio, next week.
For all the program changes, the biggest difference between FastPitch 2013 and previous years’ events may involve some fresh faces in the crowd. Representatives from the Savannah Economic Development Authority’s Innovations venture capital program as well as those with newly formed SLAAM Ventures will attend.
“Of all the years I’ve been involved with FastPitch, this year has the most potential because of the investment potential,” Hodesh said. “That side of our entrepreneurial community is catching up with the other side, with the entrepreneurs themselves.”
What: Competition where entrepreneurs pitch innovative ideas, concepts and products
When: March 28
Where: Savannah Morning News auditorium
Application deadline: 5 p.m., Feb. 18; notification of acceptance by Feb. 21