November 28 @ 6 PM

Doors open @ 530 PM

What the Entrepreneur Showcase Is All About

This Shark Tank type event is hosted by the 5th T Innovation Group and its centers, the Conway Innovation Center and the Georgetown Innovation Center. Local entrepreneurs will share their stories, experiences, and explain why they chose the Grand Strand for their business. After the presentation, you, the audience will vote on which presentation you thought was the most engaging.

Congratulations to all of the entrepreneurs that participated in our Entrepreneur Showcase and a special congratulations to the winner of the event, Jacob Oressie, CEO and Founder of D1 Recruit. We would like to thank everyone that came out to the event and supported the entrepreneur community. Make sure to Like our Facebook page and Follow us @CICInnovation for future updates and opportunities within the Grand Strand

Meet The Panel

Peter Gasca

  • P.Gasca LinkedIn

Peter Gasca is the Director of the Community and Business Engagement (CoBE) Institute at Coastal Carolina University (CCU), a program that mentors high achieving university students through real business consulting projects with domestic and international businesses. At CCU, Peter also serves as an Executive in Residence and Lecturer in the Wall College of Business. He also consults, advises and writes about business, innovation and entrepreneurship for and, and is the co-author of One Million Frogs, a book about his entrepreneur experience.

Prior to working with CCU, Peter co-founded and served as CEO of Wild Creations. In 2010, Wild Creations was recognized as the #1 fastest growing company in South Carolina and an Inc. 500 honoree. In 2011, Peter was nominated for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Carolinas.  

Deborah McKetty

  • D.McKetty LinkedIn

Deborah McKetty is the President/CEO of CommunityWorks, a regional U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in South Carolina committed to building brighter futures for underserved families and communities through financial education, lending, and investing.

Deborah is a native of Greenville, South Carolina, where she is a tireless advocate and champion of community economic development. Her volunteer service and advocacy span across the state and Southeast region. 

In 2013, she successfully launched a microbusiness lending program that has received local attention and national recognition by becoming an SBA, USDA, and SC Department of Commerce microbusiness lender. To date, the organization has financed over 150 small and minority owned businesses totaling over $3.6 million in loans.

Ray Antonino

  • R. Antonino

Ray Antonino is a three-time entrepreneur whose first went into business at the age of 20 with $10k loan. While successful in that he grew his business to $2M a year in revenue, Ray ultimately had to file for bankruptcy and lost everything after 6 years of business.


Following that, Ray built his second business with $16k that he had saved. Within 4 years, that business grew to span 3 states, employed 14 people and did over $7M a year in revenue. While successful in that his business was completely debt-free and profitable, it was here that Ray realized that it was the technology he had built to manage and scale his business that was of most interest.


Fast forward, and Ray is now 2 years into his third business. This time, as a tech entrepreneur, blazing a trail and building something that does not exist. His technology startup, PermitZone, has raised $370k to date and is currently valued at $4M.


As the founder of a company that was selected by the #2 Technology Accelerator in the world, Techstars, Ray has made the full transition from a 2x brick-n-motor small-business entrepreneur, to a scalable, tech entrepreneur who mentors others seeking to learn from his experiences.



  • LinkedIn - Black Circle

Joe Stewart is the CEO of Splyse, a blockchain development startup located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. During his previous 17-year career as an Internet security expert with Dell SecureWorks, he was profiled by the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, PCWorld and more importantly, Grand Strand Magazine. Joe is also the founder of the SubProto hackerspace in Myrtle Beach, where he mentors the next generation of hardware and software hackers.

Joe Stewart, CEO

I am currently a full time government employee completing my masters degree in Liberal Studies. It is my goal to lessen the task of poverty in my local area by making partnerships with local businesses in order to offer affordable housing.

Maxwell Graham, CEO
SmTarter Starter Homes
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle

Ryan Bitzegaio is an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Coastal Carolina University. He is a wide-ranging creative with professional experience in illustration, motion graphics, live television production, web and mobile app development, branding and more. He began developing BLOCK the building game during grad school at Vermont College of Fine Arts where he investigated the importance and impact of play.

Ryan Bitzegaio
BLOCK the building game

Tom Scheffler is a recent graduate of Coastal Carolina University. He is a Veteran of the United States Army and also served with the South Carolina National Guard. During his senior year at CCU he found an interest in Augmented Reality and began developing creative ways to use the technology.

  • LinkedIn - Black Circle
Tom Scheffler, CEO
  • LinkedIn - Black Circle
  • domain
Kevin Young, Partner/Technical Director
RdyToGo - Web Design, Branding, and Marketing

In short, I solve problems. Hopefully, I solve more than I create. As an entrepreneur in a rapidly changing industry that straddles technology, design, and marketing, I wear many hats and enjoy new challenges every day. Some of my favorite hats are; instructor, coder, and designer. However, I will gladly be the custodian if that is what it takes to get the job done.

More details at:

  • TuckTec

In the 90's Dan worked in the Holographic Industry designing and manufacturing Holograms and Laser Optic Systems.

By 2009 his clay sculpting "hobby" started making more money than what he earned in "tech" and he became a full-time clay artist with his wife Heidi. They spent the next decade making high-end pottery and fine art.

In 2017 Dan decided to launch a product he had been kicking around for several years, and by the end of 2017 Tucktec Folding Kayaks was started in the garage of their Conway home.

Dan Norton, CEO
TuckTec Folding Kayaks

Travel Tips

Coastal Carolina University
Georgetown Innovation Center
Conway Innovation Center
Community Business Engagemet Institute
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Getting There

This event will be located on Coastal Carolina University's campus at the Wheelwright Auditorium, 108 Spadoni Park Cir, Conway, SC 29526


Map Color Legend
Orange: Auditorium Location
(Wheelwright Auditorium)
Teal: Parking Locations
(Lots KK, G, E)

©2017-18 by 5thT Innovation Group

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