New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council and InnoCentive Inc. Announce Winners of Sustainability Summit Innovation Challenge

The Winning Multicultural Businesses Created Green Tech Products and Services Ranging from a Solar Flying Airship and Biodegradable Desk Accessories to Organic Fertilizer and Youth Sustainability Leadership. They will be honored at The Council’s Sustainability Summit on October 9 in NYC.

New York, NY, September 21, 2012 --( The New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council (The Council) and InnoCentive, Inc. will salute the four innovative multicultural business winners of the 2012 Sustainability Summit Innovation Challenge – Driving Sustainability & Diversity on October 9 at The Council’s 2012 Sustainability Summit: Be Eco Sharp at Sentry Center, 810 Seventh Avenue in New York City.

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,” Ruby Hill, CEO, Selco Industries, the only minority and women-owned filing products manufacturing company in the U.S. “Made from a blend of environmentally friendly materials that are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable, this line is ideal for businesses striving to reduce landfill impact and practice environmental responsibility.”

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,” said Tinia Pina, founder and CEO, Re-Nuble, Inc. “Re-Nuble seeks to redefine waste” by embracing a new model in which discarded food is recycled into green energy and organic fertilizers. Localized and community oriented, our approach creates a closed loop system of less pollution, more jobs, cleaner energy, and more sustainable farming.”

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.”

“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,” says Kevin V.G. Wells, General Counsel and Director of Compliance for The Council. “We really appreciate InnoCentive and our judging panel in helping us to accomplish that task. The four companies selected exemplified not only entrepreneurial spirit, but also the overall sustainability profile with valuable solutions. Our Sustainability Summit will also have the top 50 semi-finalists of the Challenge on October 9th.”

“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’s federal environmental executive; Emily Reyna, senior project manager at Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps; Mark Szollar, managing director, diversity & recruitment advertising at New York Times; Apple White, vice president at BNY Mellon; K.O. Ansa B. Yiadom, director of strategic initiatives global procurement & operations at Pfizer, Inc.; Majora Carter, 2011 Peabody award recipient/public radio host, environmental justice advocate and economic consultant; and Don Carli, senior research fellow at Institute for Sustainable Communication. The competition sponsors were: AIG, BNY Mellon and Con Edison.

For more information, please call The Council at 212-502-5663
NY & NJ Minority Supplier Development Council
Fern Gillespie