Aligning profit with impact was at the heart of the first Sustainable-X Showcase held at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business on March 31, 2023. Sustainable-X is a partnership of CREATE-X and the Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business, and a Sustainability Next Georgia Tech Strategic Plan initiative. It promotes positive impact through environmental and social impact startups that address the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable-X Co-director Andre Calmon (assistant professor of operations management) said, “We hope to accelerate the Georgia Tech ecosystem that supports the development of innovative ventures that align profits with positive social and environmental impact.”
The leadership team for Sustainable-X includes Scheller College of Business faculty and staff: co-directors Andre Calmon and Karthik Ramachandran (Dunn Family Professor), advisor Beril Toktay (Brady Family Chair and Regents’ Professor), and program manager Kjersti Lukens (program support coordinator for the Center).
Since its launch in November 2022, Sustainable-X has worked toward its goal of injecting energy into the community of sustainable startups through a variety of offerings. A two-day bootcamp focused on problem framing and ideation exercises to help participants design solutions. At monthly Sustainable-X Hangouts, attendees can learn about climate tech and environmental and social entrepreneurship, get resources for their projects, and meet individuals from different backgrounds in order to develop well-rounded teams. Additionally, participants receive mentorship from entrepreneurs and Georgia Tech faculty who are eager to see the next generation of business leaders and changemakers succeed. All of this year’s activities have built up to the Showcase. The top three teams won cash prizes and the chance to join the CREATE-X Startup Launch program this summer.
Out of 30 strong applications for the Showcase submitted by teams from all six Georgia Tech colleges, six teams were selected to pitch their ideas. Teams gave five-minute presentations and answered questions from the judges, Chris Klaus, Bill Nussey, Dori Pap, Rahul Saxena, and Savannah Seydel. Teams were judged across four categories: 1) business value; 2) novelty, creativity, and feasibility; 3) environmental impact; and 4) presentation.