reusing spent brewery grain to create tasty granola bars

A big congratulations and thank-you goes out to all competing entrepreneurs, judges, mentors, advisors, organizers and promotional partners. Check out the video of the [Re]Verse Pitch Final Competition event!

 [Re]Verse Pitch Competition

An Event Series in Austin, Texas for Social Entrepreneurs Where We Pitch To You

Entrepreneurs are used to pitching their business idea to investors, partners, and anyone they might share an elevator ride with. In this competition, the tables will turn. The [Re]Verse Pitch Competition is a new social innovation program to help turn valuable raw materials that are currently leaving local businesses, non-profits, and institutions as waste into the foundation of new social enterprises.

Competitors  work with mentors & advisors to develop repurposing business ideas and compete for a $10,000 Innovation Prize to help start this new venture.



Eight finalists were selected by the [Re]verse Pitch Competition judges to move forward and pitch their business ideas on December 9th. 

Austin Building Materials Depository & Working Space

Repurposing: books, spent grain, vinyl banners, water proof clogs, canvas, and decorative glassware

Entrepreneur: Santiago Diaz

Working with Wicker

Repurposing: Wicker Baskets

Entrepreneur: Sue Sende Cole

The Table to Bacon Feed Company

Repurposing: Spent Grain

Entrepreneur: Joe Diffie

Non-container Glass Recycling

Repurposing: Decorative Glassware

Entrepreneur: Aaron Pierron

Brew Biscuits Expansion

Repurposing: Spent Grain

Entrepreneur: Cory Skuldt

Calling All Seamstresses

Repurposing: Vinyl Banners

Entrepreneur: Melissa Rothrock

Brewnola Bars

Repurposing: Spent Grain

Entrepreneur: Brandon Ward

Safe Innovative Heels

Repurposing: Vinyl Banners & Waterproof Clogs

Entrepreneur: Renata Sturdivant


Goodwill Industries of Central Texas

Wicker Baskets: 30-40 gaylord boxes of wicker baskets go unsold at Goodwill every month. Wicker baskets are a common surplus item among thrift operations. What reuse business solution could you create to keep this common household item out of the landfill?

Dishware and Glassware: 10,000-20,000 pounds of mostly broken dishes and decorative glass are headed to the landfill every month. Glass can be endlessly recycled, but decorative glass can't be taken by traditional recyclers. Can you find a way to repurpose this beautiful material?

Pitch Presentation

Hops & Grain Brewery

Every brewery in Austin produces spent grain as a byproduct. At Hops & Grain, roughly 60,000 lbs is generated each month. What sort of business could you create with this organic material? 

Pitch Presentation


MDO (Medium Density Overlay): MDO is a paintable, printable surface made of plywood with a weather-resistant resin overlay bonded to the wood by heat and pressure. About 500 square feet of this byproduct are available every month.

Canvas: BuildASign has about 4,000 square feet per month of scrap canvas.

Pitch Presentation

Recycled Reads

Cassette Tapes: 1,000 VHS and audio cassettes need to be discarded by Recycled Reads every month. A recycling or upcycling solution for this product could help solve a tremendous global e-waste challenge.

Used Books: 65,000-70,000 weeded library and donated books go unsold every month. Many of these are manuals, tax books, college guides, medical guides, and computer manuals - outdated resources that if used incorrectly, may be harmful. Austin could be a national leader by finding a reuse solution for this material with a short shelf life--what is your idea?

Pitch Presentation

Travis County

Waterproof clog shoes are used by the Travis County correctional facility and most correctional complexes in the U.S.  Travis County needs to dispose of 2,000 shoes every month. What could you do with these ethylene-vinyl acetate shoes?

Pitch Presentation


Vinyl Banners and Scraps: BuildASign also has scrap vinyl available, about11,000 square feet per month, in varying sizes and shapes.



For-profit and non-profit enterprises across the country are demonstrating the value can be created from waste. Get inspired by these local and national reuse and remanufacturing enterprises:

Logro Farms is an Austin-based full-cycle sustainable farm that specializes in the production of gourmet mushrooms and sustainable food products, using waste products from a nearby brewery.

The Austin Rubber Company manufactures a virgin rubber compound substitute, APX™, using a patented process. The system converts recycled tires and other scrap rubber compounds into a less expensive substitute for virgin rubber compound, which can be used in a variety of new products. Austin Rubber’s patented process produces a material that solves a global environmental waste problem and fills a growing commercial need at the same time.

By turning trash into revenue-producing businesses, St. Vincent de Paul Society (Lane County, Oregon) is simultaneously creating jobs for the unemployed and providing needed services to more than 84,000 people each year.

Granite Recyclers Austin works with local granite companies to collect their scraps and turn them into beautiful stone tiles and other granite products.

The Empowerment Plan is a Detroit-based nonprofit dedicated to serving the homeless community. They mostly hire homeless parents from local shelters to become full time seamstresses to create coats that transforms into sleeping bags at night.

Open Arms is a USA-Made sustainable apparel and sewn goods manufacturer empowering refugee women through living wage employment. This social enterprise is affiliated with the Multicultural Refugee Coalition and has used reclaimed fabric and other textiles from large companies, including IKEA and Build-A-Sign, to create accessories and clothing.