Sustainable Brands Announces 2016 Innovation Open Semi-finalists

Eleven environmental and social-impact entrepreneurs will contend for top honors in business plan competition
May 4, 2016 10:00 AM ET
SB Innovation Open at SB'16 San Diego

SAN FRANCISCO, May 4, 2016 /3BL Media/ – Sustainable Brands® recently announced 11 semi-finalists to compete at the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) startup competition presented by Target. The competition, culminating at SB’16 San Diego, June 6-9th, attracts world-changing entrepreneurial teams with unique ideas to solving some of the world’s pressing environmental and social concerns.

The 2016 SBIO semi-finalists include: 

  • Clean Copper Supply Chain Alliance, pbc – provides a network that demands copper that is extracted in a sustainable way
  • Conscious Period – offers organic, BPA-free feminine products that are locally produced and employ women from low income communities, also operating as a one-for-one service supplying homeless women in the U.S. with feminine products
  • Grubbly Farms – produces protein meal by using fly larvae on food waste, helping to reduce food waste and provide an alternate sustainable source of protein for livestock feed
  • Kizazi – supports a recycling and sustainable microloan fund with 15% of the profits from ethically produced game-quality soccer balls
  • MediMeals – enables doctors to prescribe a whole-food, plant-based meal program to help treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity
  • NIWA – simplifies the indoor growing process by offering a joint hardware-software platform, encouraging local production of food
  • ReGrained – harvests “spent” beer grain from local craft breweries to produce a high-protein, fiber-filled flour to be used in a wide range of foods, including “Eat Beer” bars wrapped in compostable packaging
  • The Renewal Workshop – brings new life into excess inventory and garments deemed “unsellable” from apparel companies or retailers, creating new products that are unique and promoting a circular economy
  • Smart Yields –  extends big agricultural data to small and medium size farms, helping to increase productivity and reduce risk through a mobile platform
  • Soapberri – provides natural body care products from soapberry, a natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal fruit, giving customers the opportunity to be toxin-free and help the ecosystem
  • Soofa – manufactures city solar powered infrastructure aiming to offer sustainable technological solutions to cities around the nation

Presented by Target, SBIO features a distinguished panel of judges including: KoAnn Skrzyniarz, founder of Sustainable Brands; Emily McGarvey, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility at Target; Eric Carl, Wellness Merchant at Target; Torsten Kolind, CEO & Founder of YouNoodle; Greg Shewmaker, Entrepreneuer-in-Residence at Target; Sandy Skees, Managing Director at California Fenton; Jeff Mendelsohn, Founder & Chair of New Leaf Paper; Mary Jo Cook, President & CEO at Pacific Community Ventures; Scott Beaudoin, CSO & Exec Managing Director at RF|Binder; Dimitar Vlahov, Director Content Development at Sustainable Brands. Semi-finalists receive a full conference pass to SB’16 San Diego where they will pitch their business plans to a group of social and sustainable investors, executives from leading companies, top brand consultancies and nearly 2,500 business and brand leaders attending the conference and Activation Hub. The winner will receive cash and in-kind prizes, consultation with Target teams to strengthen the winner’s business case/model, consultation with RF|Binder’s strategic and creative communications team, plus exposure to members of the global Sustainable Brands community.

“The Innovation Open aims to catalyze the progress of moving businesses towards a more flourishing future through innovation,” says Riley Scherer, Manager at Sustainable Brands. “These entrepreneurs venture beyond innovation and seek to disrupt - the Sustainable Brands community embraces that passion. The ideas that will come from these contenders will spark conversations to drive environmental and social impact.”

Business plan pitches will run back-to-back beginning Tuesday, June 7th. Four finalists will then be selected to present on the main stage the following day, which will be broadcast worldwide through the conference live stream.

The SB Innovation Open at SB’16 San Diego is sponsored by Target and co-sponsored by RF|Binder. YouNoodle is the technology partner and Ashoka is an affiliate partner. Further information about SB’16 San Diego, including the Innovation Open and the Activation Hub, can be found at


About Sustainable Brands
Sustainable Brands® is the premier global community of brand innovators who are shaping the future of commerce worldwide. Since 2006, our mission has been to inspire, engage and equip today’s business and brand leaders to prosper for the near and long term by leading the way to a better future. Digitally published news articles and issues-focused conversation topics, internationally known conferences and regional events, a robust e-learning library and peer-to-peer membership groups all facilitate community learning and engagement throughout the year. Sustainable Brands is hosted by Sustainable Brands Worldwide, a division of Sustainable Life Media headquartered in San Francisco, CA.