Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP) won a Silver Rank for its Fast Pitch Greater Palm Springs, a project in the category of Special Event of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The honor was announced this week at an awards ceremony during the IEDC Annual Conference in Nashville, TN.

“Fast Pitch Greater Palm Springs is a high-energy event that inspires everyone involved,” said Laura James, CVEP’s Vice President of Innovation. “This year, it was especially challenging to plan the event in a way that preserved that energy while still following California’s rigorous COVID safety protocols. Receiving IEDC’s Silver Rank Award for 2021 validates the creativity and hard work that went into planning an impactful event.”

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials and the year’s most influential leaders. Twenty five (25) award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from four countries.

Fast Pitch Greater Palm Springs is a startup pitch competition modeled loosely after the popular television show Shark Tank. The competition directly addresses business growth by training startup founders how to pitch to investors and by offering the winner personal exposure to angel investors with an interest in the region. It was held on April 14, 2021.

An Impactful Event

The feedback CVEP receives each year after the event speaks to its impact. Invariably, contestants report that they benefit from the coaching, exposure, and connections they gained through their participation. In three out of four years, winners from Fast Pitch Greater Palm Springs went on to place in the top three at the Riverside County Fast Pitch Finale. In a county with a population of approximately 2.4M people, this is a significant honor. This year, the winner from Fast Pitch Greater Palm Springs was Bear Simerson, co-founder of 3C.Health, a CVEP iHub portfolio company. Mr. Simerson went on to share first place in the County wide Fast Pitch Finale, winning $7,500.

The other, and perhaps even more significant, impact of this project is it boosts the Palm Springs region beyond its traditional image as a resort and retiree community and showcases its most recent advances in high tech business and entrepreneurship development.

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara, President, and CEO Tom Kucharski. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.

“We’re incredibly honored to recognize the outstanding organizations that received this year’s Excellence Awards,” Kucharski continued. “This year, more than ever, has presented opportunities to innovate, impact, and progress the cities, neighborhoods, and communities around us. Each of this year’s recipients represents the best of the economic development profession and exemplifies the ingenuity for fellow economic developers to aspire to in the years to come.”