Social Entrepreneurs compete to help City reach Zero Waste
AUSTIN, TX – Austin first launched the [Re]Verse Pitch competition in 2015 with the goal to develop a viable, impactful social innovation program. Winning entrepreneurs would drive social enterprises, support surplus product management for local businesses and propel the City towards its Zero Waste goal.
Going into its third effort in 2018, [Re]Verse Pitch has not only received the Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), but is fast becoming an effective platform for Austin sustainability with its measurable impact.
The [Re]Verse Pitch Competition is a social innovation program to help turn valuable raw materials that are currently leaving local businesses, nonprofits and institutions as waste into the foundation of new social enterprises. Local entrepreneurs hear pitches from the businesses with these materials, then work with mentors and advisors over eight weeks to develop and refine business ideas for repurposing. At the closing event, finalists pitch their new business ideas to compete for the top Innovation Prizes that help them kick start their new ventures.
The 2018 Prize Pool includes $20,000, a nine month incubation package from TarmacTX, three months of co-working memberships at Capital Factory (up to 10 people) and free consulting and educational opportunities. All finalists will also be able to receive co-working passes to WeWork.
”A more circular economy means more economic value stays local through sharing, repairing, repurposing and redesigning existing materials,” said Natalie Betts, Recycling Economic Development Program Manager. “2018 is a big year for us, we’ve gained momentum to start taking on more work for greater impact.”
Wednesday night, Jan. 17, entrepreneurs will hear presentations from various material suppliers about their waste products. Discarded materials up for grabs include everything from oyster shells and fabric scraps to wine bottles. Beginning Thursday, Jan. 18, they’ll begin their sprint towards a final business idea, plan and solution using the former discards in their new venture. Expert judges will hear final presentations at the [Re]Verse Pitch finale on March. 7, 2018.
Stephen M. Roberts, Global Sustainability Marketing Manager at Dell and keynote speaker at November’s [Re]Verse Pitch Kick Off event shared, “Per the United Nations, 20-50 million metric tons of e-waste are discarded each year...with them go viable materials that could be reused or recycled...innovative approaches represent the future and that’s where [Re]Verse Pitch, an event that sparks imagination, kicks in.”
Also, mark your calendar for the closing event on March. 7, 2018, 6:30 p.m. at Atlassian when competitors will share their creative business plans and test their concepts for viability in hopes of winning one of the innovation prizes.
The City of Austin’s Recycling Economic Development Program works to attract, retain, and grow businesses and entrepreneurs in order to create local jobs and foster a resilient Zero Waste ecosystem in Central Texas. The program is a joint partnership between the Economic Development Department and Austin Resource Recovery.
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 ordinance. 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.
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