ONLY ON 3: Wilmington businessman up for prestigious award

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington entrepreneur is up for one of the most prestigious awards in the business world. His one-of-a-kind business has global appeal, and he calls it an economic stimulus package of sorts.

Ross Hamilton, 29, founded Connected Investors back in 2005. It’s a social media company all about stimulating the economy through investing.

“When I was young, I used to actually sell seashells by the seashore,” Hamilton said. “So I’ve done it all, and I’ve always envisioned myself doing something big. When I first started this, I felt like I was crazy, because I put all my time, energy and effort into it. But in the back of my mind, I just knew this was going to make a big impact on the economy.”

After a lifetime of innovation, Hamilton is up for Entrepreneur Magazine’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. He says Connected Investors combines the social aspect of Facebook, the marketplace aspect eBay and the educational aspect of a university to help new and experienced investors take their investments to the next level.

David Zarghami is one of more than 100,000 members. He calls the site life-changing.

“It’s really about the connections with others who know what you don’t and being able to find them and ask them the question to get that critical piece of information you need,” Zarghami said. “Otherwise, you’re just stuck, and there’s just information overload, right? You can do an internet search or go to Barnes & Noble and find a book on just about any topic. But without having someone to say, ‘You know what? This is where you need to start. This is where you need to go to get the ball rolling,’ you’re just lost.”

Zarghami started investing in addition to his 9-to-5 job. Thanks to Connected Investors, he’s now doing it full-time and says the flexibility he has and opportunities he’s able to provide for his family are priceless.

Connected Investors employee Regina Reed says the company is making such an impact because Hamilton is an innovator, and he’s all about providing the best for his customers.

“I call him the Matrix-mind, because when he thinks of something, it’s kind of like that ‘Matrix’ movie, where you see the computer with 10 different screens open, and that’s the way he thinks, because one thing will turn into 12 different things,” Reed said.

“When an investor does a deal, makes an investment, jobs are created, and that’s really the cornerstone and the foundation of our entire country, so investors need to start investing again,” Hamilton said.

You can help Hamilton become Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year simply by casting your vote online. Just go to

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