NEW YORK : Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) (BSE: 532540, NSE: TCS), a leading global IT services, consulting, and business solutions organization, announced Spira the winner of the second edition of Pitch for Purpose. Held in partnership with SEED SPOT, the competition featured eight mission-driven founders whose startups are leveraging technology to address some of the most critical social issues – from democratizing access to assistive technology, zero waste fashion, and equity in public services to gender equal clothing and agricultural technology.
“Social entrepreneurs are catalysts in building sustainable communities, creating innovative solutions, and driving purposeful social impact,” said Balaji Ganapathy, Chief Social Responsibility Officer, TCS. “We congratulate Elliot Roth, founder of Spira, and salute all of the Pitch for Purpose finalists for their vision, drive, and commitment to serving their communities and inspiring others.”
More than 200 social entrepreneurs from across the U.S. participated in the competition, and eight finalists progressed to pitch their ventures to a global audience and panel of judges.
Finalists included Ray Abel, CEO and Founder of Bansen Labs; Pelkins Ajanoh, CEO of CassVita Inc.; Omolara Fatiregun, CEO and Founder of Thrive!; Clare Herceg, CEO and Founder of Let’s Get Set; Elliot Roth, CEO and Co-Founder of Spira Inc.; Abby Sugar, CEO and Founder of Play Out Apparel; Vini Tripathii, CEO and Founder of Invictus BCI; and Shelly Xu, CEO and Founder of SXD.
Spira Inc, founded by Elliot Roth in 2019, creates industrial chemicals using carbon-negative genetically engineered algae grown by a global network of farming partners as a replacement for artificial colors and animal proteins for food, cosmetic and textile companies. As the first-place winner, Roth will receive $15,000 in funding provided by TCS, along with coaching and mentorship from TCS and partner SEED SPOT, a nonprofit business incubator for mission-driven startups, to take the company to the next level. Announced as the audience favorite, Shelly Xu of SXD will receive a $1,000 cash prize.
“Petrochemicals are major contributor to environmental degradation and a key driver of climate change. Spira seeks to be one of the first companies to create scalable and accessible industrial chemicals that are sustainable and work to remove CO2 from the atmosphere,” said Elliot Roth, CEO and Founder, Spira Inc. “On behalf of the team at Spira, thank you to TCS and SEED SPOT for this opportunity. We are thrilled to have earned this recognition and look forward to scaling the company to continue making an impact on climate change.”
“Entrepreneurs play a critical role in the global community’s progress toward a more equitable, healthy, and sustainable future. These Pitch for Purpose finalists exemplify the impact a single leader with a vision and the courage to pursue it can make in addressing our most pressing societal problems,” Zach Leverenz, CEO, SEED SPOT. “We’re proud to partner with TCS to support these ventures and extend our congratulations to every applicant committed to fostering change through entrepreneurship.”
The judges for this year’s competition were Dominic Cugini, Domain CIO, Service Digitization, KeyBank; Kamal Bhadada, Business Group Head, Communications, Media and Information Services, TCS; Anne Field, Contributor, Forbes; Earl Newsome, VP and CIO, Cummins; and Jenni Waller, CIO-EHS, Quality and Contractual Services, GE Gas Power.
The Pitch for Purpose competition was held as part of TCS’ Digital Empowers program, which celebrates the crucial role technology plays in improving our world. Launched in 2018, Digital Empowers is aimed at accelerating innovation for social impact. The program seeks to facilitate the generation of new ideas and foster the spread of these ideas while facilitating action through a cross-collaborative process.
Since inception, Digital Empowers has engaged with thousands of experts to create and expand the knowledge base, explore technology solutions that have exponential impact on the most pressing problems and to create an ecosystem of vital cross-sector partnerships leading to collaborative social impact solutions. The program has also opened doors for social entrepreneurs and changemakers to ideate and collaborate with business and technology leaders to bring novel social impact innovations to the community.
To learn more about Digital Empowers, visit https://tcsempowers.tcsapps.com/us/programs/digitalempowers/