Milwaukee-based author and entrepreneur George Paasewe won $10,000 for his startup Code Switcher, LLCduring the latest episode of “Project Pitch It” on WISN-TV Channel 12.
Paasewe is the founder and CEO of Code Switcher, which provides online educational courses and consulting to aspiring authors who want to write and self-publish a book.
He launched Code Switcher after writing and publishing his own book “How Black College Students Learn Code-Switching,” which teaches readers how “code switching,” the concept of changing one’s communication style depending on the audience, can be used to break communication barriers.
Paasewe says he faced several challenges during the writing and publishing processes, which is why he started his own business.
“George, you mentioned challenges,” Project Pitch It mogul David Gruber said. “What kind of challenges did you have?”
“The first one is not knowing when to start or how to start writing a book,” Paasewe said. “We’re teaching them the step-by-step process to write and publish. The goal is to make them self-sufficient.”
Paasewe told the moguls that his book has caught the attention of high schools and colleges.
Project Pitch It mogul JoAnne Sabir, who has read Paasewe’s book, said she loves the content and references made in the book.
“What is the next step? How can we support you?" Sabir said.
“What we need right now is working capital,” Paasewe said. “We find ourselves not able to fulfill the purchase orders that institutions are requesting.”
Abigail Austin pitched her startup “Wholesome Diaper Co.,” Milwaukee’s only cloth diaper service. Austin says her startup has kept 9,000 diapers out of Wisconsin landfills.
Disposable diapers made with plastics that are not eco-friendly, Austin said, adding that many diapers on the market also contain chemicals that can be irritating to a baby’s skin.
“That’s why cloth diapers are making a big comeback,” Austin said. “They are the healthiest and greenest way to diaper a baby.”
Wholesome Diaper Co. is for parents who love the benefits of cloth, but who do not have the time or desire to wash dirty diapers at home. For $24 a week, Wholesome Diaper Co. will pickup, wash and deliver cloth diapers to customer’s homes.
“If you’re using a cloth diaper and you take it off the baby, where do you put it until you pick it up? Gruber said.
“We provide them with a laundry bag that’s actually really good,” Austin said. “It’s waterproof and it’s really good at keeping the smell in.”
Wholesome Diaper Co. was awarded $5,000 and free mentorship programming at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Lubar Entrepreneurship Center.
Another entrepreneur who pitched during the episode, Jack Ryan, the founder and CEO of Last Lock, won the AmFam Award, which includes pairing the entrepreneur with a leader at American Family to support growth in all aspects of the business including marketing, IT, human resources and finance.
Last Lock bills itself as the “commercial smart lock solution that will be the last lock that you’ll ever need.” The startup uses technology that enables users to lock and unlock doors from their mobile devices.
With Last Lock, the user can use a smartphone, RFID fob or a physical key to gain access or lock any doorway. The startup's technology also uses “smart cylinders,” which are used to power Last Lock.
“For the power side, we incorporated the mechanical generation you find in your hand-cranked flashlights in order for our lock to never run out of battery,” said Ryan.
Last Lock is also in the form factor, meaning it is compatible with systems that homeowners and companies have already installed, Ryan added.
“Where do you most need help?” said Jerry Jendusa,
Ryan says Last Lock is in the process of raising funds to become commercially certified, which the startup needs to legally sell its product. Last Lock has completed the hardware component of its product, but the startup is in the process of building out its software.
“We’re currently manufacturing all in Wisconsin which is great, but having feedback and advisership in that area would be terrific,” Ryan said.
Last Lock was founded in 2019 through gener8tor’s Accelerator Studio and has since grown its team to five employees. The company was also a category winner for the 2020 Governor’s Business Plan Competition and has received a $100,000 investment from gener8tor.
BizTimes Media is a media partner of “Project Pitch It.”