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, “Be Unique 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 https://celebrasianconference.com/whats-your-pitch/2019
Founded in 1984 in the nation’s Capital, the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC) is the most established and effective national nonprofit nonpartisan organization representing all Asian American and Asian American-related groups in business, sciences, the arts, sports, education, public and community services. Our mission is to promote and propel economic growth and job creation by opening doors to business and professional opportunities for Asian Americans and their partners in corporations, government at the federal, state and local levels, and the small, minority and diverse business communities. For 35 years, USPAACC has served and will continue to serve as the unified voice for equal opportunity in business for Asian Americans, as the gateway to corporate and government contracts, to Asian American suppliers, and information about Asian Americans and the Asia-Pacific and Indian Subcontinent markets.
Our signature annual thought-leadership programs include: College Hallmark Scholarship Program that began in 1989, One-on-One Prescheduled Business Matchmaking Meetings in 1998, Supplier Diversity & Procurement Leadership Caucus in 2004, Federal Contracting Town Hall Meetings in 2005, Fast 100 Asian American Businesses in 2008, Business Executive Coaching: ReadySetGrow in 2011, Chief Procurement Officers Forum in 2011, What’s Your Pitch Innovation Competitions in 2015, Chief Technology & Information Officers Forum in 2017, and Corporate Employee Business Resource Group Leadership Caucus in 2017.
Headquartered in Washington DC, USPAACC reaches Asian American businesses nationwide through regional chapters in California, Texas, New York, Georgia, Illinois and the Washington DC-Maryland-Virginia National Capital Area.
Businesses can be nominated or apply for the innovative national award program that recognizes the robust growth of 100 leading Asian American-owned businesses“We celebrate the fastest-growing difference makers, risk takers, and boundary breakers powering America’s economy,” says USPAACC National President and CEO Susan Au Allen
SD Champions provides tools to nurture corporate, government, and large nonprofit supplier diversity programs, while also encouraging and supporting the certification and development of the small and diverse businesses that make these programs a reality.
The SD Champions program advanced by USPAACC represents a purposeful shift away from awards solely based on a corporation's ability to spend and moves toward a new emphasis that encourages transparency, innovation, inclusion, impact on the community, and integration in supplier diversity programs.