Locoal announced as winner of $3,000 cash prize
AUSTIN, TX – The City of Austin’s Economic Development Department and Austin Resource Recovery announced the winner of the first annual Circular Austin Showcase, a virtual pitch competition for local businesses – known as 'circular' businesses – focused on reuse, zero waste and/or sustainability. The virtual pitch event took place on July 28 and was held in partnership with the Austin Young Chamber.
Locoal was selected as the winner by an impartial panel of judges following virtual pitches from 10 finalists; including four companies who participated as Reverse Pitch Innovation Fellows. Scoring was based on business viability, fundability, circular economy/zero-waste impact, economic impact and local job creation, along with effectiveness of pitch delivery. Locoal will receive a $3,000 cash prize and track the amount of waste their business diverts or reuses annually in support of achieving Austin's zero waste goal. They also gained valuable feedback from competition judges.
Each of the 10 finalists made pitches for a variety of circular business concepts:
- Locoal* - repurpose spent grain to create ‘wattle socks,’ which help prevent soil erosion
- Black Lives Veggies - repurpose plastic waste to create garden boxes
- DV Designs* - repurpose spent grain to create beverage coasters
- Lola’s Classic Babies* - repurpose unwanted fabric decorator samples to create baby bow ties
- Pink Sugar LLC - reduce food waste by reusing cake and cupcake by-products; creating new products
- Terra Golf - reuse textile waste to create golf club covers
- Royal Jelly Bee Co. - create an apiary using locally sourced livestock and recycled woodware
- Reuseful Earth* - repurpose large plastic sacks to create container gardens
- Review Technology - a mobile app that allows a user to tell if an item is recyclable or compostable
- Re-Mat – reduce landfilled materials by opening a mattress recycling facility
*2021 Reverse Pitch Innovation Fellows
"The Circular Austin Showcase is an exciting way to continue momentum toward a more circular and zero-waste economy," said Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Acting Director for the Economic Development Department. "We're bringing a wide range of diverse stakeholders together to connect resources and investors with entrepreneurs that are seeking to address one of the foremost challenges our community faces."
Judges for the Circular Austin Showcase included local investors and commercial lenders, with representatives from Bancorp South, Next Coast Ventures, Truth Wealth Ventures and Valy Fund Venture Capital.
"Looking at material waste streams as a profitable venture is an important component of achieving our zero-waste goals," stated Ken Snipes, Director of Austin Resource Recovery. "We are thrilled to continue to partner with our circular economy business community to repurpose materials and reuse them to improve the local economy and support the diversion of waste from the landfill."
The Circular Austin Showcase had applications from circular businesses around the region with the goal of inspiring and educating the investment community on the social, environmental and economic benefits of circular economy businesses.
The Circular Austin Showcase is a new program created by the City of Austin’s Circular Economy Program. In 2015, the program launched Reverse Pitch, an annual zero-waste competition that has provided more than $70,000 in cash and in-kind prizes to date. The Circular Austin Showcase is focused on connecting local investors and circular economy entrepreneurs and business owners. It aims to help Austin reduce waste, create a cleaner environment and grow the local circular economy.
About the Circular Economy Program
Two City of Austin departments, Austin Resource Recovery and the Economic Development Department, have teamed up to launch the Circular Economy Program. The program’s mission is to attract, retain, and grow businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs in the zero waste industry in order to create well-paying local jobs, attract investment, and support the necessary infrastructure for a resilient circular economy in Central Texas.
About Austin Resource Recovery
Austin Resource Recovery provides a wide range of services designed to transform waste into resources and protect our environment 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 City of Austin Economic Development Department
The City of Austin Economic Development Department supports business growth, creative industries, and local communities. These programs build an equitable, sustainable economy to improve the lives of all Austin residents. To learn more about helpful resources, visit www.austintexas.gov/edd or like us on Facebook @AustinEconDev and follow @AustinEconDev on Twitter.