Entrepreneurs offer Fast Pitches

The Fast Pitch program is a chance for regional business owners to get their hands on much-needed cash.

But it's not easy. Participants have to compete for the money and have a product worth supporting. Those lucky enough to make it to the final round are grateful for the chance.

"It gives us - the entrepreneur - the opportunity to pitch to people who have interest in building businesses in savannah. This is the best form of building our tax base back up in the community," said Don Ernsts of Kool Coatings.

The final competition, which is organized by Georgia Tech Savannah, Georgia Southern University and the Creative Coast, came down to three overall winners. Diana Keough got top honors.

Copyright 2011 WTOC. All rights reserved.


ShareWIK Media CEO Declared Overall Winner of 2011 FastPitch Competition
By Adam Van Brimmer

SAVANNAH--James Bowerman believed a market existed for his idea for a configurable bag that can go from a messenger pouch to a saddle sack to a backpack.

As the crush of college co-eds surrounded him, impromptu pre-order slips in hand, at the conclusion of Thursday’s FastPitch 2011, Bowerman knew he was on to something.

“Pretty cool for something that started as a class project,” the Savannah College of Art and Design grad student said. “But then I got an ‘A’ on it.”

Bowerman was one of 40-plus entrepreneurs to participate in the day-long competition and match-making event at the Coastal Georgia Center. Each entrant had three minutes to pitch his or her product or concept before a crowd of about 200 spectators, many of whom were investors ready to offer coaching, advice and guidance in obtaining financing, developing the venture and bringing the product to market.

Sponsored by the Creative Coast Alliance, Georgia Southern University and Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Fastpitch was organized to give local entrepreneurs exposure as well as instruction and advice on how to improve their sales pitches.

“I was blown away by the competency and quality of these presentations,” Larry Zaslavsky, an entrepreneurial fellow at Georgia Southern, told participants at the close of the event. “When I was the age of most of these men and women, I would have gotten up there and went, ‘duh, duh, duh.’”

Seven entrepreneurs stood out and received awards for the quality of their pitches and the investor appeal of their ideas.

Digital media website, pest control top ideas

The overall winner was Atlanta resident Diana Keough for her medical information website,www.sharewik.com.

Billed as “WebMD meets Facebook,” the site features blogs, podcasts and video reports focused on specific medical conditions. The focus is on expert advice for those suffering maladies and their friends and families and gives them a forum to share their

ShareWIK launched in January 2010.

“We blend the magic of storytelling with expert opinion,” said Keough, a former health-care reporter for the Plain-Dealer, a daily newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio.

Louise Hodges took runner-up honors for her and her husband’s Green Bug All Natural Pest Control product.

The Beaufort residents have developed a liquid made from the active ingredient in cedar wood that kills gnats, mosquitoes, cockroaches and fire ants but is not harmful to other insects, like bees and ladybugs, or humans and pets. The product is dispersed as a mist using home irrigation systems.

Keough and Hodges both had developed products, but many of the other award winners as well as several of the participants were at the conceptual stage. The ideas ranged from Bowerman’s configurable backpack and a Harry Potter-themed dinner theater to a device that converts water into hydrogen fuel and software for data management.

“Every time somebody got up there I thought, ‘That’s a great idea’ or ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’” said Kate Strain, an attorney with Belter Law and one of the competition judges. “This competition really made me realize there are many people who have great ideas for businesses, and this is a great forum for them to get exposure.” 

Fastpitch Finalists

The top-seven products and concepts presented at Thursday’s Fastpitch 2011 competition, as determined by a panel of judges.

Student Entrepreneurs

- James Bowerman (Savannah College of Art and Design) for his configurable bag. Designed for college students, the bag easily converts from messenger pouch to saddle sack to backpack.

- Elise Shuford (Georgia Southern University) for the “Magical Banquet at Hogwarts” dinner theater. The show would bring the Harry Potter movies to life in a dining experience.

Faculty Entrepreneurs

- Mariah Hay (SCAD) for her stylish healthcare equipment. The visually attractive and comfortable crutches, arm slings and braces would appeal to those looking to overcome the psychological impact on healing. The devices would remind users not that they’re sick or hurt but that they are healing.

- Chris Masters (Savannah College of Massage) for his “Muscle Magic” foam rubber demonstration and training gear.

Community Entrepreneurs

- Louise Hodges (Beaufort, S.C.) for “Green Bug Pest Control Solution.” The product is a liquid made from the active ingredient in cedar wood that kills gnats, mosquitoes, cockroaches and fire ants but is not harmful to other insects, like bees and ladybugs, or humans and pets. It is dispersed as a mist using home irrigation systems. The product launched in January 2010.

- Diana Keough (Atlanta) for “ShareWIK.” The website bills itself as “WebMD meets Facebook” and features blogs, podcasts and video reports focused on specific medical conditions. The focus is on expert advice for those suffering maladies and their friends and families and gives them a forum to share their experiences. The site launched in January 2010.

- Kevin Werntz (Savannah) for “Peas-Corp.” The company brands and markets mobile and traditional game products and brought a board game, Whirled Peas, to market last year.


ShareWIK CEO, Editor-in-Chief interviewed by online business publication mo.com:  
"then magic happened, like a catharsis happened with them as soon as they knew that story, what they’d been through, was going to help somebody else.”

ShareWIK Editor-in-Chief Diana Keough is special guest on hour long radio show, Dialogues with Dignity, discussing "The Path To Forgiveness" sharing her personal story:  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dialogueswithdignity/2010/12/01/the-path-to-forgiveness

New Medical Website Lets Members "Share What They Know"
September 17, 2010 

ATLANTA - How many times have you said, “I wish I knew that before I…” and finish the sentence how you want?  And how often have you said that when referring to health and medical issues?  A new online community hopes to help with those questions.  

ShareWIK – “Share What I Know,” is an online community with thousands of members who tell their personal health and wellness stories that are vetted by a team of doctors. It’s been described as Facebook meets WebMd.

Based in Atlanta, the company’s online community, co-founded by a former reporter, has been growing by leaps and bounds -- but Diana Keough developed the idea for ShareWIK out of a painful past – one that she is only now just beginning to share.  Read more....

ShareWIK Media Group and Rubber City Radio Agree to Content Partnership
August 18, 2010

ATLANTA – August 18, 2010 – Atlanta-based ShareWIK Media Group, the revolutionary health and wellness network, announces a content partnership with the Rubber City Radio network. The syndication deal allows for syndication of ShareWIK’s robust health content on the Edward R. Murrow recognized AkronNewsNow.com, as well as on-air segments for ShareWIK experts to discuss wellness news of interest to the Rubber City audience. Read More

53 Articles with Great First Date Ideas, Tips and Advice
August 6, 2010

The dating scene is a confusing place to be. It does not matter if you are a first-time dater or an old pro; the rules always seem to change. Things that were appropriate a decade ago probably do not apply today. The first date is always the toughest since that is the deciding factor on whether or not a second date will even occur.

The following articles provide ideas, tips and advice for going on a first date. The information will help anyone that is preparing for a first date, even those that have been dating for years.  Read More (ShareWIK columnist, Ginger Emas is #15 on the list for her "You Only Have One First Date... Again" column)

ShareWIK: Surviving Sexual Abuse
June 3, 2010
by Therese Borchard

You all may remember the quality video that Sharewik.com producers made of Eric and I. They have published another dynamite testimony on surviving sexual abuse. I know that many of you are sexual abuse survivors and need to be validated on your journey to wholeness. Read More


Depression: Learning How To Dance in the Rain
April 13, 2010
by Therese Borchard

Gosh. If ever there were a movie made of my life, this would be it! It's the 4:43 minute version of my book, "Beyond Blue." I guess if you just joined this blog, or were wondering if anyone else besides you has been depressed their entire life, you will know that you have a companion.

One of my favorite sayings is that "you can't wait for the storm to be over ... you have to learn how to dance in the rain. Read More


A Whole New Meaning to 'Crunch Time'
In times of stress, my eating becomes more controlled.
May 14, 2010
by Dara Chadwick

ShareWIK.com columnist, Dina Zeckhausen, Ph.D. is quoted by author Dara Chadwick in this article about Dara's stress eating snack of choice - raw vegetables - the crunchier the better. Read More

A Fresh Set of Eyes

Can we change the stories we've always told ourselves?

June 19, 2009

by Dara Chadwick

We also need to give ourselves permission to change. If you've always been striving to reach an "ideal," moving to a place of acceptance can feel not only foreign, but downright intimidating. And it's not always easy to do, either. Clinical psychologist and noted eating disorder expert Dina Zeckhausen wrote this column about trying to see herself in a more forgiving way -- and about how even the "experts" struggle. Read More