[Re]Verse Pitch seeks new initiatives for using grape skins, napkins, office chairs and more
Austin’s fourth annual [Re]Verse Pitch Competition will award two innovation prizes totaling $20,000 to local entrepreneurs April 30. To get the award, business leaders must create products or services using a unique selection of discarded materials from existing companies.
The [Re]Verse Pitch Competition, a social innovation program, helps turn valuable raw materials that are currently leaving local businesses, nonprofits and institutions as waste, into the foundation for new social enterprises.
The 2019 competition is designed to inspire profitable ventures and support a more circular local economy, an economy where all materials and products are kept in productive use and waste is designed out. Co-hosted by the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce and the City of Austin, [Re]Verse Pitch Competition hopes to continue to generate economic opportunities and provide environmental and societal benefits while supporting Austin’s Zero Waste goal.
The competition begins at the opening event February 26 where five [Re]Verse Material Suppliers, entities that are consistently generating or collecting by-product, surplus, or other underutilized materials in Austin, will give presentations about their would-be waste to entrepreneurs. These material pitches, plus a meet ‘n’ greet with the material suppliers and their byproduct samples will happen from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Capital Factory. This year’s material suppliers—and the resources they’re offering—include:
The Austin Winery: White and red wine grape skins
HID Global: Poly-carbonate dye-cut plastic sheets
JOSCO Products: Polyester napkins
Texas Oncology: Styrofoam coolers and freeze packs
Travis County: Office chairs
Potential competitors, after attending the materials demonstrations, will then have five weeks to determine how previously wasted item(s) might now become the foundation for a sustainable Austin enterprise. Entrepreneur competitors, future material suppliers and anyone interested in the competition are encouraged to RSVP to the opening pitch event at ReversePitch.org/events.
Contestants will receive guidance from mentors and technical advisors and have the opportunity to attend specialized workshop sessions as they formulate a business plan and test their concepts for viability. In addition, Austin Technology Incubator’s Circular Economy Incubator is offering a free short course on Entrepreneurship & the Circular Economy for four weeks leading up to the [Re]Verse Pitch Competition kick-off. Interested entrepreneurs are invited to register for this free course at https://ati.utexas.edu/ce-course/.
Finalists will pitch for the chance to win one of the two Innovation Prizes—$10,000 to the best new business idea and $10,000 to an existing business that is able to make use of one of above byproducts—at the closing event on April 30, 2019 at UT’s Rowling Hall. More information about each of the materials is available online at ReversePitch.org.
About the Recycling Economic Development Program
Two City of Austin departments, Austin Resource Recovery and the Economic Development Department, have teamed up to launch the Recycling Economic Development Program. The program’s mission is to attract, retain and grow zero waste businesses and entrepreneurs in order to create local jobs and foster a resilient zero waste ecosystem in Central Texas.
About Austin Resource Recovery
Austin Resource Recovery provides a wide range of services designed to transform waste into resources while keeping our community clean. Services include curbside collection of recycling, trash, yard trimmings and large brush and bulk items; street sweeping; dead animal collection; household hazardous waste disposal and recycling; and outreach and education. Austin Resource Recovery offers free, voluntary and confidential consulting services to help Austin businesses reduce waste and comply with the City’s recycling ordinances. In December 2011, the Austin City Council approved the Austin Resource Recovery Master Plan, which is the City’s road map to Zero Waste. The City of Austin is committed to reducing the amount of waste sent to area landfills by 90 percent by 2040. Learn more at austinrecycles.com.
About the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce
The Austin Young Chamber promotes the general economic interests of the Central Texas business community through initiatives and efforts designed to build and strengthen our young professional workforce. Connect with the Austin Young Chamber on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, or check out upcoming programs at austinyc.org.
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