USPAACC’s National Innovation Competition Creates Pipeline of Promising Startups for Investors and Corporations

Washington, DC – March 19, 2019 – The annual national innovation competition “What’s Your Pitch: Innovations Meet the Market,” created by the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC), is now in its fifth year. Its mission is to shine the spotlight on promising and innovative startups from diverse and emerging industries, and put them on the radars of potential investors, Fortune 1000 corporations, and the business community.

Applications are now open for this year’s competition, with the final round to be held in Houston, Texas. Startups will pitch their innovative ideas in 4 categories – consumer goods, technology, life science & healthcare, and energy & utilities – to a panel of judges for a chance to win over $100,000 worth of prizes.

Participants will also have the opportunity to be coached by venture capitalists, successful entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and Houston’s technology and business hubs, and to network with Fortune 1000 executives and other industry disruptors.

This year, USPAACC partners with Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship of Rice University in Houston, Texas to present this competition. Rice University consistently ranks in the Top 20 national universities and Top 100 among global universities.

“We are delighted that USPAACC has partnered with Rice University to drive entrepreneurship and enrich diversity in our community,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “The synergy from this partnership augurs well for our burgeoning economy as we continue to build the city of Houston as the ‘Silicon Bayou’ – the country’s next hub of robust business growth and innovation.”

“USPAACC is proud to bring a procurement and business conference of this breadth and magnitude to the great city of Houston,” said USPAACC National President & CEO Susan Au Allen. “In addition to providing a platform to showcase innovation among our startups and diverse suppliers, we will also help to cultivate a vibrant business community that could successfully compete and thrive in today’s global marketplace.”

Legacy sponsor is Wells Fargo and co-sponsor is Southern California Edison. More sponsors are expected.

Committee Co-Chairs are Terry Hsiao, Founder and CEO of Hook Mobile and Head of Strategy at Kaleyra; and Diane Yoo, Director at Rice Angel Network.

With USPAACC Southeast Regional Chapter in Georgia and Northeast Regional Chapter in New York/New Jersey, the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce, and Houston Asian Chamber of Commerce in Texas hosting the preliminary rounds, the competition has reached another level of growth and prominence. Through this 5-year old program, USPAACC enables its regional chapters and local chambers to begin to create their own innovation hubs and cultivate their pipeline of rising-star entrepreneurs.

Since its inception in 2015, alumni from “What’s Your Pitch” competition have raised over $3 million. They have also been featured in Forbes 30 under 30 and have delivered keynote speeches in leading industry events around the world. Previous participants have also joined the USPAACC Pitch Alums Social Group to create a strong network of Pan Asian American and other minority entrepreneurs who connect and learn from each other.

The competition will have 3 rounds: preliminary, semi-final and final. The preliminary round will be held in Austin, TX, Atlanta, GA, Los Angeles, CA, Charlotte, NC and New York City, NY. Five winners will be selected from each city to compete in the semi-final round at Rice University in Houston, during USPAACC’s pre-conference event on June 4, 2019.

The judges will be venture capitalists and potential investors, community and corporate leaders, Fortune powerhouse executives, seasoned and successful entrepreneurs, disruptors and more.

The final round will be held on June 5 during USPAACC’s 34th Annual CelebrASIAN 2019 Procurement + Business Conference at the Hilton Americas-Houston in Texas. CelebrASIAN 2019, which runs from June 5 – 7, is the country’s largest and most established business-to-business conference convened by Pan Asian Americans.

The Conference theme, “BUnique Ignite Leadership Deliver Exceptional ResultS: BUILDERS of The American Dream” aims to help Pan Asian American entrepreneurs to create brighter and more prosperous futures by learning the corporate and government procurement process, meeting other minority and diverse businesses, forming strategic partnerships, and acquiring and refining specific technical and professional skills to reach their highest potentials.

CelebrASIAN 2019 is chaired by Angie Klett, Senior Vice President IT CFO and Chief Procurement Officer at Nationwide. Conference Co-Chairs are Ampcus, Bank of America, Pyramid Consulting, T-Mobile, and Wells Fargo.

Application is open until April 3, 2019.

To learn more or to apply, visit

For more information on CelebrASIAN 2019 or USPAACC, visit or

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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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