There was great interest in the Innovation Challenge, which sought out unique products or services that could aid a sustainable supply chain, bring benefits to urban and rural communities and promote job creation. The competition was open to Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBEs) and diverse organizations nationwide, which aspired to highlight their innovation, build capacity, and develop supplier relationships with large publically traded corporations and public sector agencies. In addition to the recognition, each of the four winners will receive a monetary prize of $2,500.
The winners in the sustainable product category:
AirShip Technologies Group, based in Lake Oswego, Oregon, is developing an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) which reduces aircraft weight and eliminates the need to carry onboard fuel due to renewable solar energy with rechargeable ultracapacitors. “There’s a familiar pattern in reinvention. Rethinking answers to problems leads to a new technology coming along to fill a long-standing need,” said Ben Berry, CEO, AirShip Technologies Group. “But as it becomes widely implemented, questions arise over how best to use it and how it may affect the rest of the world.”
Selco Industries, based in Holland, Ohio and Garfield, NJ, has created a green line of desk accessories “Selco Industries has a reputation for innovative products and is proud to offer Forever Green desk accessories,”
The winners in the sustainable service category:
Re-Nuble, based in Lorton, Virginia, is creating organic fertilizer by capitalizing on the large volume of food waste that is produced by restaurants, hotels, schools, grocers and corporate campuses. “Re-Nuble became an extension of my passion for environmentalism,”
Green Competitive Advantage, based in Stamford, Connecticut, has created an education leadership program for at risk youth and motivating them to participate in the green economy. “The inspiration behind creating my company’s sustainable service came from my leadership experiences while serving in the U.S. Army coupled with my lifelong passion for education,” Howard Jeandenis, principal, Green Competitive Advantage. “Green Competitive Advantage offers a transformative process for students and a platform which corporations can use to nurture young people into global citizenship.”
To showcase innovative and sustainable products and services by minority and diverse businesses, The Council, which serves as an advocate for MBEs and global corporate members--including more than 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, partnered with InnoCentive, the pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and prize competitions, to execute the Challenge. The competition reflected the critical need to encourage and support corporations and government in identifying and using innovative products and services from emerging domestic market vendors, to reward their sustainability efforts and to recognize their impact on job creation.
“The goal of the Innovation Challenge was to identify inventive American multicultural and diverse entrepreneurs with emerging, innovative, next generation green technologies that are either too small or not well-established, but also have the ability to create supply chain efficiency; job creation; and benefits to targeted urban communities for fait accomplish.”
“Highlighting and encouraging sustainable and diverse commercial ventures in every community is key to the economic health of our country,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive. “Connecting innovative small and medium businesses to large corporate decision makers is essential to job growth and the expansion of our economy. The Council’s approach in going beyond a monetary award to showcasing the Challenge winners will hopefully serve as an inspiration for others.”
The judges for the 2012 Sustainability Summit Innovation Challenge – Driving Sustainability & Diversity were: Kevin E. Brooks, CEO & president at THiNKGREEN! Global Advisors, Inc.; Leisha John, Americas director, environmental sustainability at Ernst & Young; Dr. Kevin Lyons, supply chain and environmental management and policy at Rutgers University; Jonathan Powers, Obama Administration’
About The Council
The Council, an award-winning affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, certifies Asian-American, African American, Hispanic-American and Native-American-
InnoCentive is the open innovation and crowdsourcing pioneer that enables organizations to solve their key problems by connecting them to diverse sources of innovation including employees, customers, partners, and the world’s largest problem solving marketplace. InnoCentive’