Austin entrepreneurs compete to re-purpose products into business ideas

[RE]verse Pitch Competition chooses entrepreneur with the best idea that re-purposes a byproduct into a viable business with a social benefit.

Re-purposed grain for Brewnola Bars by Brandon Ward.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Eight Austin entrepreneurs are going head to head to compete for a big prize and tonight you get to weigh in on who wins!

It’s called the Reverse Pitch Competition; it started with more than 85 contestants and now it’s down to eight. Those eight finalists are competing to present the best idea and concept that re-purposes a byproduct from a local organization into a viable business with a social benefit.

Finalists joined Alicia Inns in the KXAN studio, helping us get to know the entrepreneurs a little better as they gear up to make their final pitch to a panel of expert judges.

Finalist Santiago Diaz re-purposed books, spent grain, vinyl banners, water proof clogs, canvas, and decorative glassware. His re-used items are turned into Austin Building Materials depository and working space.

Renata Sturdival re-purposed vinyl banners and waterproof clogs into Safe Innovative Heels for women with prosthetics. The slip resistant heels also include orthotic insoles to help maintain proper posture, minimize fatigue and prevent injury with regular use.

Re-purposing spent grain is Brandon Ward with Brewnola Bars. The business he created, Brewnola, is described by Ward as a delicious snack to pair with your favorite beverage; “slightly sweet, salty, and full of flavor!”

Sue Sende Cole created the business Working with Wicker, where she re-purposed wicker baskets.

Re-purposing decorative glassware is Crocket High School student, Aaron Pierron, with Non-container Glass Recycling.

Melissa Rothrock used vinyl banners to create her business Calling All Seamstresses.

Another finalist re-purposing grain is Cory Skuldt, who created the Brew Biscuits Expansion business using spent brewery grain to make dog biscuits.

Voting is open until 5 p.m. today.

You can watch the finalists final pitches tonight for free from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bass Lecture Hall on 2300 Red River St.

For more information visit the [RE]verse Pitch website. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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