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Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
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[Re]Verse winner announced
Monday, December 14, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano
On Friday, the [Re]Verse pitch competition crowned its first winner, awarding a $10,000 innovation prize to Brandon Ward for his idea that turns spent grain from breweries into granola bars. According to a press release about the award, Ward will be using his money to create a prototype of his “Brewnola” bars and to conduct market research before launching distribution. His pitch proposed a company that will locally source ingredients, use compostable packaging, donate to local homeless shelters and pay employees $24 per hour. In a statement to the press, Ward said, “I’m not sure that we ever would have become aware of the environmental impact of spent beer grain if not for the Reverse Pitch competition. … The competition helped open our eyes to this problem and gave us the opportunity to solve it. Hence, with help from the City of Austin, Brewnola has been born.” According to that same release, the competition may serve as a prototype for the city as well: “The City’s Office of Innovation is exploring how challenge prizes might be utilized as a tool for other public challenges in the future.” The [Re]Verse contest was a collaboration among the city, the U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development, Impact Hub Austin, the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service and community partners.
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