Meet the 2020 Pitch for Purpose Finalists

September 17, 2020

As the world continues to recover from a global pandemic that has swept communities with staggering speed, entrepreneurs across the nation are using their ideas, innovations, and creative minds to generate long-lasting solutions to the challenges that confront us.   

That’s why earlier this year the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and SEED SPOT teamed up to create Pitch for Purpose, a pitch competition recognizing mission driven founders whose startups are leveraging technology to change the world. Through the competition, we wanted to elevate social entrepreneurs’ important role in the pandemic response and provide access to resources they need to help scale their impact.   

We invited entrepreneurs across the United States to apply for a chance to win a $15,000 cash prize and gain access to mentorship from industry leaders, as well as a national platform to showcase their ventures. Our venture committee included 15 leading innovators from organizations including the Motley Fool, Capital One, Common Impact, Impact Hub NYC, and the GreenLight Fund Detroit to help us narrow the pool of over 150 inspiring applicants. 

After much anticipation, we are excited to announce the 2020 Pitch for Purpose competition finalists: 

Jennine Sullivan  

Venture: The Pantry by Feeding Hawaii Together, the only weekly e-Commerce food distribution, on a mission to eliminate food insecurity in Hawaii by 2025 

Location: Honolulu, HI  

Favorite Founder: Bill Gates for creating an empire and turning it around to create the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to solve large scale global problems. 

Daily Inspiration: The volunteers who come out 4 days a week, 52 weeks a year to enable The Pantry to carry out its mission. 

Danya Sherman 

Venture: KnoNap, a safety company working to create safer social settings through education and products that prevent drug-facilitated assault and crime. 

Location: Washington, D.C.  

Favorite Founder: Melanie Perkins, Canva's CEO, who grew Canva from an unaddressed market need for plug-in UX/UI and marketing tools into a 'unicorn' venture. 

Daily Inspiration: Since founding KnoNap, I have been continuously inspired by the potential KnoNap has to empower, educate, and advocate against drug facilitated sexual assault and crime. 

Chrissa McFarlane 

Venture: Patientory, Inc., a global population health management software that gives users access to actionable insights from their health data. 

Location: Atlanta, GA  

Favorite Founder: Steve Jobs. He was able to overcome difficult situations even when no one was listening to him. 

Daily Inspiration: My spirituality and listening to the stories of different people. 

Renee King 

Venture: FundBLACKFounders is a crowdfunding platform and funding ecosystem for black entrepreneurs. 

Location: Mount Vernon, NY

Favorite Founder: Sevetri Wilson, founder of Resilia. She has accomplished so much yet remains so humble and accessible. She lives and breathes the saying of "lifting as you climb." 

Daily inspiration: I find inspiration from every Black Entrepreneur I interact with. Each of them remains resilient despite obstacles, and they are steadfast in building solutions for our community. They inspire me. Moreover, they are the batteries in my back, powering the work I do daily.  

Vick Antonyan 

Venture: Humble Help Studio is on a mission to help small businesses survive through COVID-19 and thrive after by combining technology and creativity to design unique solutions for small businesses. 

Location: Redwood City, CA 

Daily Inspiration: I find inspiration in people. When I see people whose actions are selfless and generous, that inspires me to do something positive, something that can make a difference. 

Favorite Founder: Ben Horowitz is one of the first entrepreneurs that was able to build a successful product while truly caring about people. For him people came first, then product and lastly, profit.

Ahva Sadeghi 

Venture: Symba is the leading remote internship platform on a mission to open up the workforce. 

Favorite Founder: I truly admire Melanie Perkins, CEO and Co-Founder of Canva. She is an outstanding female founder and her team at Canva is democratizing access to design. We are big fans of Canva at Symba! 

Daily Inspiration: I find inspiration in yoga. 

Join us virtually from 1:45–3:00 p.m. ET on October 7, 2020, to watch these six finalists live as they pitch their ventures to a panel of judges who will select their favorite based on the creativity, feasibility and presentation of their ideas.   

Pitch for Purpose will be held in conjunction with the third annual Digital Empowers Summit, which will convene leading business and community leaders, technologists and changemakers to set the tech-for-good agenda for the ‘next normal.’ The conference is free and open to the public. Register to attend the event here