The Austin Young Chamber in collaboration with the City of Austin announces four finalists for the 2020 [RE]verse Pitch Competition. The [RE]verse Pitch competition awards two social entrepreneurs $10,000 each in Innovation prizes for the top ideas using discarded materials from existing businesses to create new products or services.

The competition is designed to inspire profitable new ventures while keeping materials out of landfills. Using byproducts for a new business creates jobs, improves the local economy and helps the City move toward the goal of reaching Zero Waste by 2040.

The fifth annual [RE]verse Pitch Competition launched February 10 when over 100 other social entrepreneurs and members of the public gathered to hear pitches from Austin businesses and nonprofits.

Materials up for grabs included: fabric sample books, vinyl records, plastic skeleton sheets, all-purpose plastic sandals, and composite wood furniture. More information about each of the materials is available online at Since the opening pitch, entrepreneurs have been working with mentors and advisors to craft and refine their business ideas for byproduct repurposing. Finalists were selected by a panel of judges, who considered the business venture’s viability, sustainability, economic and social impact.


The 2020 Seed Stage Finalists are:

LoFi Recycling Systems by Samantha Panger and Destin Douglas
Repurposing vinyl record scraps from Gold Rush Vinyl into indoor pots and planters

reCASE Project by Taylor Henderson and Bill Balliette
Repurposing decorator fabric samples from Austin Creative Reuse / IIDA and vinyl record scraps from Gold Rush Vinyl into iPhone cases

Rescued Originals by Kristin Gust, Andy Elliot, and Elizabeth Sanford
Repurposing decorator fabric samples from Austin Creative Reuse / IIDA into pet beds

Terra Helmets by Aadhikesh Boopalam, Seniru Kottegoda, and Collin McCloskey
Repurposing decorator fabric samples from Austin Creative Reuse / IIDA, vinyl record scraps from Gold Rush Vinyl, and plastic sandals from Travis County into shareable helmets


To win, entrepreneurs will need to effectively deliver their pitch at the Virtual Finalist Pitch Event. The Finalist Pitch Event will be held Monday, April 27 from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. The public can learn more and RSVP here.

Two Innovation Prizes will be given out at the finale. This year all finalists are in the Seed Stage (new or pre-revenue business category). Two winners in the Seed Stage will receive a $10,000 cash prize each, plus in-kind support including incubation, promotional, co-working and coaching services. Audience members will have a chance to vote for their favorite idea to receive the People’s Choice Award honorable mention.

The [RE]verse Pitch Competition is a collaboration between the City of Austin, Austin Young Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development, UT McCombs School of Business, and the Social Entrepreneurship Learning Lab with additional support from a wide variety of community partners. Learn more at



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 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 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

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

Virtual [RE]verse Finalist Pitch Event

April 27 | 6:00-7:30pm