© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Rockford Fastpitch "'Shark Tank' Without The Bite"


Rockford’s EIGERlabhosts its 8th annual Fastpitch CompetitionWednesday, 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.”

Credit Guy Stephens / WNIJ
Sherry Pritz

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.


Guy Stephens produces news stories for the station, and coordinates our online events calendar, PSAs and Arts Calendar announcements. In each of these ways, Guy helps keep our listening community informed about what's going on, whether on a national or local level. Guy's degrees are in music, and he spent a number of years as a classical host on WNIU. In fact, after nearly 20 years with Northern Public Radio, the best description of his job may be "other duties as required."