COLUMBIA, SC — Michael Roth is going from the pitching mound to the podium.
The former USC Gamecock left-hander and star of the teams two national championship runs will be one of the featured speakers at the annual Ignite! event, which celebrates the Midlands regions entrepreneurs.
The event will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Carolina Coliseum on Assembly Street in Columbia.
Roth, now playing minor league baseball for the Los Angeles Angels organization, has started his own communications company, Michael T. Roth Enterprises, and is building a reputation as a motivational speaker based on his success on the field and in the classroom. He was even tapped recently by the S.C. Department of Commerce to make a pitch at the Industrial Asset Management Council meeting in Omaha, Neb., for companies to locate here.
Im just going to highlight the wonderful things about Columbia and what it has offered me, the Greenville native said Monday. It has prepared me with the skill set and a mindset to go into the workplace and be successful.
The ninth annual event brings together media, technology and business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs to celebrate the growth of the Midlands knowledge economy. Hosts include Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides, executive committee co-chairs at EngenuitySC, the public/private partnership formed to boost the regions entrepreneurial power.
There are so many amazing people doing exciting things right here in the Midlands, Benjamin said. Ignite! is our opportunity to bring them and their ideas together to maximize that potential and build a critical mass of creativity.
Other speakers for the event include:
• Jill Davis, vice president of corporate planning and strategic services for BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina.
• Ben Rex, chief executive of Cyberwoven, a website development firm based in Columbia.
• Chandra Chandrashekhar, assistant professor of electrical engineering at USCs College of Engineering & Computing
• Brendan Lee and Chris Thibault, co-founders of 52Apps college students who have started a company dedicated to writing a new smart phone application a week.
• Preach Jacobs, a musician, photographer and journalist who founded Cola-Con, a local event where hip hop music and comic book culture intersect.
We look for a group of diverse people who have exemplified starting something big or unique in Columbia, said Frank Avery, Engenuitys project manager for the event. We want them to tell their stories, what made them a success in Columbia and the Midlands, to inspire the next generation. We want people to know this is a place where you can start a new great idea and there are people here who can help you.
In addition to short presentations by each of the speakers, an audience voting session will determine the winner of the Ignite! Ideas Contest an open call for business ideas from the public. Three people will pitch their ideas at the event and the winner will receive a $5,000 grant from Wells Fargo to get started.
The event also includes an open bar and a networking cocktail hour featuring performances by Alternacirque. Heavy hors doeuvres by local chefs will be served, and a free after-party is set for 8:30-11 p.m. at Social Bar & Lounge, 918 Gervais St.
Ignite! is an opportunity to bring your work together with your friends and the community to not only do business but to live and have fun, Avery said.