The inaugural competition highlights how entrepreneurs are delivering solutions to our most pressing challenges through their innovative use of technology
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today remote internship platform Symba was named the winner of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) inaugural Pitch for Purpose competition. Held in conjunction with the 3rd annual Digital Empowers Summit, the competition featured six mission-driven founders whose startups are leveraging technology to address social and environmental challenges – from eliminating food insecurity to providing a crowdfunding platform for Black entrepreneurs.
“The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent social and economic crises have shown how entrepreneurs are uniquely equipped to adapt, pivot, and find innovative ways to advance solutions for the greater good,” said Marc DeCourcey, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber Foundation. “We congratulate all of the Pitch for Purpose finalists, and our winner Symba, for the incredible work they are doing day in day out to serve our communities, and the inspiration they bring to others.”
More than 150 social entrepreneurs from across the U.S. applied to participate in the competition, and six finalists progressed to pitch their ventures live in front of a global audience and a panel of judges during the Digital Empowers Summit on October 7-8.
Finalists included Vick Antonyan, co-founder of Humble Help Studio; Renee King, founder and CEO of fundBLACKfounders; Chrissa McFarlane, CEO of Patientory, Inc.; Ahva Sadeghi, CEO and co-founder of Symba; Danya Sherman, founder and CEO of KnoNap; and Jennine Sullivan, executive director of The Pantry by Feeding Hawaii Together.
Co-founder & CEO Ahva Sadeghi impressed the judges with Symba’s mission to remove barriers of entry to the workforce by connecting companies with remote interns anywhere in the U.S. and helping them adapt to the future of work. As the first-place winner, Symba will receive $15,000 in funding provided by TCS, along with coaching and mentorship from event partner SeedSpot, to take the startup to the next level. Announced as the audience favorite, KnoNap will receive a $1,000 cash prize.
“Our generation is faced with a confluence of health, economic, social and environmental challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pitch for Purpose recognizes the instrumental role that social entrepreneurs play in society,” said Balaji Ganapathy, Global Head of CSR & Chief Social Responsibility Officer at TCS. “We are proud to recognize their purposeful solutions with digital at its core, sparking grassroots change and bridging the last-mile gap.”
The judges for this year’s competition were: Tarit Dey, head of research and innovation at Tata Innovation Center at Cornell Tech; Justin Dawkins, managing partner at Collab Capital; Elizabeth Gore, president and co-founder of Hello Alice; Bryson Koehler, chief technology officer at Equifax; Neil Maheshwari, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of U.S. News & World Report, L.P.; and Corinn Perry, chief of staff and interim CEO at SEED SPOT.
The Pitch for Purpose competition was held as part of the U.S. Chamber Foundation and TCS’ Digital Empowers campaign, which celebrates the crucial role technology plays in improving our world. To learn more about Digital Empowers, visit https://us.digitalempowers.org/.
About U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.