FastPitch Competition draws almost 40 aspiring entrepreneurs; Wrapperoo wins top prize

FastPitch logo

ROCKFORD, June 19 — Nearly 40 people worked through their nerves to pitch their products June 17 “Shark Tank” style in three-minute increments at the ninth annual FastPitch Competition at NIU Rockford.

PJ McGuire of Chicago won the top prize for her product, Wrapperoo. As seen on Good Morning America, it’s “a towel to dry your hair, a cape to style your hair, a cape to apply make-up when you are already dressed and a cape and towel for root touch-up and hair color.”

Each presenter brought bold ideas, vision, passion and drive, said Dan Cataldi, executive director of NIU EIGERlab. Such ambitions – more than 500 have presented in the competition’s nine-year history – are proven creators of jobs and wealth in the community.

“FastPitch was created nine years ago to identify, support and celebrate creators, designers, builders, makers and dreamers. The competition embodies the heritage of the region – the innovators, entrepreneurs and risk-takers who built our community,” Cataldi said.

“There are winners today, but there are no losers. Everyone who invests their time today will get something out of this event,” he added. “Investors have met companies and made private investments here. Companies have found partners here. New ideas have emerged from collaborations initiated here.”

See the full NIU news release here.

Winners and their prizes/products:

  • First place, $5,000: PJ McGuire, Wrapperoo, a shoulder cape to keep clothing clean while applying makeup.
  • Second place, $1,000: Doug Hoang, 4Motion Gym Clothing, clothing embedded with sensors to capture exercise data.
  • Third place, $500: Brad Marshall, AdsOrTails, promotes local products and services online to regional readers.
  • Clean Tech Award, $500: Tim Benedict, Diesel Life Support System, engine retrofit to increase efficiency and power while reducing harmful emissions.
  • Dale Falconer Award for entrepreneurial spirit, $1,000: Nicole Sdao,, aids nonprofits in online fundraising.

Local media coverage:
Rockford Register Star


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