Pitching their dreams - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Pitching their dreams

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Practice has been important work for Murem Sharpe, and for the Creative Coast where she's doing it.

Sharpe is one of 23 finalists who will present their business ideas to a panel of experts and potential investors Friday in the Creative Coast's annual FastPich competition. 

It's an opportunity to build a company, a dream or the business relationships to make both a reality.

"Everything starts locally, right?" said Sharpe, who has been running through her pitch at the Creative Coast office in preparation for Friday's event. "And then, the next thing you know, Atlanta's talking about it. And the next thing you know, Austin is talking about it in a couple weeks. So, that's what we're here for is to get the word out."

Sharpe will be pitching an expansion of her existing business,  a personalized virtual-tour listing app she hopes to market to realtors.

"It's easy," she says. "I'm using it myself. I'm not hiring an expensive videographer."

But she is enlisting the help offered by the Creative Coast and their collection of business expertise.

Each contestant received coaching for their pitch and mentoring for a business plan from local entrepreneurs and university representatives, getting them ready for this local version of the syndicated show "Shark Tank".

"The idea is that it just brings you up to another level and a sense of expectation and a sense of accountability," Creative Coast Executive Director Bea Wray said of the coaching. "The pitch has no slides, it has no prototype. It's really just a three-minute elevator pitch."

And it comes with the hope of elevating an idea to a business or an existing business to conglomerate, as well as the local business community to a stronger status.

"It's our whole mission, to grow innovative and creative business," said Wray. "We want a business that can grow into a larger organization, that can grow jobs in the Savannah area."

While an audience of potential investors will be watching and a panel of experts will award cash prizes to the best pitches, the contest hosts will be looking for a different type of win.

"Really, the best case is that there's one superstar," said Wray. "That's what I actually think Savannah needs. It's great to have hundreds super cool companies, but it's easier to point to the rock star. That, in a sense, is more motivational."

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