Ingersoll Rand Presents $20K Cash Manufacturer Award at USPAACC’s Innovation & Pitching Competition

Ir Award Presentation

Global industrial and manufacturing firm Ingersoll Rand  presented the Ingersoll Rand Manufacturer Award to GrowSquares, the 1st place winner of US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC)’s 5th annual national “What’s Your Pitch: Innovations Meet the Market,” on June 5, 2019 at the Hilton Americas-Houston in Texas.

The grand prize winner received $20,000 in cash, plus advisory services valued at $5,000 from Ingersoll Rand.

John Evans, Chief Procurement Officer of Ingersoll Rand and a judge in the final round, presented the award to the Co-Founder and CEO of GrowSquares, Zachary Witman. The awards ceremony was held during the Excellence Awards Gala Dinner of USPAACC’s 34th Anniversary CelebrASIAN Procurement + Business Conference.

GrowSquares, an agtech startup, enables the general public to grow customized modular gardens using advanced microbiology and data science, through the use of an app in the urban gardening platform.

The company bested 20 semi-finalists from across the country who competed in 4 main categories – consumer goods, technology, life science & healthcare, and energy & utilities.

The pitching competition – in its fifth year – was created by the US Pan Asian American USPAACC to shine the spotlight on promising and innovative business startups from diverse and emerging industries. It also puts the startups on the radars of potential investors, Fortune 1000 and other major corporations, and the wider business community.

Ingersoll Rand, a global leader in creating comfortable, sustainable and efficient environments, is a co-sponsor of the competition, along with Southern California Edison and legacy sponsor Wells Fargo.

This year, USPAACC partnered with Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship of Rice University to present this competition.

The competition had 3 rounds: preliminary, semi-final and final. The 4 preliminary rounds were held in April and May this year in Austin, TX, Atlanta, GA, Los Angeles, CA, and New York City, NY. Five winners from each city advanced to compete in the semi-final round at Rice University in Houston, at USPAACC’s pre-conference event on June 4.

From the final round on June 5 emerged the top 3 winners who were announced at the Gala Dinner that night.

Participants had the opportunity to network with investors, Fortune 1000 and major corporation executives, and various industry disruptors.

Terry Hsiao, Founder and CEO of Hook Mobile, Head of Strategy at Kaleyra, and Director, Washington DC MIT Alumni Angel Group, was the Committee Chair who provided leadership and professional support.

Since its inception in 2015, alumni from “What’s Your Pitch” competition have raised over $3 million, have been featured in Forbes 30 under 30, and have delivered keynote speeches in leading industry events around the world.

The judging panels for all three rounds of the competition were venture capitalists and investors, community and corporate leaders, procurement, IT and technology executives from major corporations, seasoned and successful entrepreneurs, and disruptors.

To learn more, visit

 CelebrASIAN is the country’s largest and most established business-to-business conference convened by Pan Asian Americans. This year’s Conference theme, “BUnique Ignite Leadership Deliver Exceptional ResultSBUILDERS of The American Dream” focused on Pan Asian American entrepreneurs to create brighter and more prosperous futures.

CelebrASIAN 2019 was chaired by Angie Klett, CPA, ChFC, Senior Vice President IT CFO and Chief Procurement Officer at Nationwide. Corporate Co-Chairs were Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, T-Mobile, and Wells Fargo. Asian American Business Co-Chairs were Ampcus and Pyramid Consulting.

For more information on CelebrASIAN 2019, visit

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Founded in 1984 as a national non-profit non-partisan organization, USPAACC promotes and propels economic growth by opening doors to business, educational and professional opportunities for Asian Americans and the small and minority community. USPAACC IRS Tax Exemption # 52-164-1440

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