The culmination of the 2022 WBENCPitch competition series, and the 2022 WBENC theme, Innovate with WBENC, truly exemplified the MOMENTUM within the WBENC network of innovative, groundbreaking and impactful businesses that our WBEs have developed and continue to develop. Learn more about the 2022 WBENCPitch Winners and how you can support each of the winners and finalists.

The WBENC network is leading the way in identifying, fostering, and support MOMENTUM in growth for women-owned business opportunities.

As part of Innovate with WBENC, the 2022 Fall WBENCPitch competition focused on identifying and spurring innovation and collaboration throughout the national WBENC network. WBENC teamed up with our Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs) to find the most innovative solutions around the country. Hosted by the RPOs, WBEs applied for a chance to participate in the Regional First Round Competitions held throughout summer 2022.

Nearly 500 WBEs pitched their business concepts through regional competitions and then through the WBENC Semi-Final virtual competitions, and finally the top 12 pitched live at the WBENC Innovate with WBENC event in Washington, DC, November 14-16.

WBENCPitch Finalists had the chance to win up to $20K in prize money to invest in their business, thanks to our amazing program sponsors, FedEx and PepsiCo. And during the winner announcements, WBENCPitch Presenting Sponsor representatives, Mary McEvoy of PepsiCo and LeTonya Cooper of FedEx, announced to the entire crowd that ALL of the WBENCPitch Finalists were going to receive $1,000 each! Amazing!

Each of the 2022 WBENCPitch Finalists wowed the audience at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC, during the WBENC Fall Meeting. Dive into more about the top three winners.

WBENCPitch First Place Winner: Accel UniteAccel Unite WBENCPitch Winner

Born out of the need for reliable and sustainable PPE, Accel Unite’s reusable isolation gowns are more affordable, increase safety against cross-contamination, and are less damaging to the environment. Instead of being thrown away, Accel Unite’s gowns can be washed at home or by a commercial launderer, reducing cost, reliability on supply chains, and impact to the single-use plastic epidemic.

Accel Unite believes in being united toward the common goals of improving health and wellness for ourselves, our patients, our coworkers, and our community, while always focusing on what is best for humanity and the environment. Accel Unite combines its love of science and sustainability to create textiles and garments that positively impact the wearer and the world.

Part of what impressed the judges and the audience was the truly life-changing yet seemingly simple innovations that Founder & CEO Megan Eddings and Accel Unite developed, including a snap on the back instead of the standard tie, which removed the risk of spreading germs and bacteria from exposure when the user would reach up and untie the gown. Additionally, the ability to wash the gowns in commercial washers, up to 100 times, is a sustainability dream, severely reducing the volume of isolation gowns being thrown away.

“Being part of the WBENC network has been truly a gift. The impact of meeting strong, courageous, bold, generous and kind women has been profound. Innovation and ESG were primary focuses of this year’s “Innovate with WBENC” and I have no doubt that, collectively, the world will continue to shift as we continue to build profitable businesses that put humanity and the environment at the forefront.” – Megan Eddings, Founder & CEO | Accel Unite

Second Place Winner: Panic Panties

Panic Panties is “arming every woman with a fresh pair of panties – whenever, wherever she needs them.” Panic Panties believes that women have enough to worry about without having to chase after a decent pair of panties every time life strikes. Their mission is to make premium-quality, affordable panties accessible where & when women need them most.

Co-founders, Maria-Nicole and Alexandra Tartell, have a vision to make high-quality, affordable panties available in convenient places wherever a person may need them – convenience stores, airports, big box stores, and, of course, each person’s travel bag or purse! As Panic Panties shares, women have enough to worry about without having to chase after a decent pair of panties every time life strikes.

“We are still pinching ourselves. As a self-funded small business, the $10k from this win is instrumental in helping us catapult to the next level by launching at one of the big three drug stores in Q1 of 2023. But the real prize is the friendships that we’ve formed with the other finalists. We were totally and completely blown away by the kindness, encouragement, and bravery of these women. I can’t wait to watch them all change the world in their own way.” – Maria Marino, Co-Founder | Panic Panties

Third Place Winner: Neowaste

NeoWaste WBENCPitchNeowaste is decentralizing waste management through chemical recycling. By establishing a distributed network of small, modular units, Neowaste can manage waste at or near the source of generation, ultimately reducing the cost of transporting and managing that waste.

Their sustainable mission is three-fold: reduce waste disposal costs, divert waste from landfills and generate fuel from alternative sources. Put simply by Neowaste: “A clean, circular alternative to landfilling, incineration and mechanical recyling.”

“I can honestly say that WBENC has set us up for more opportunities than Neowaste could have ever accessed on its own.  And the best part about those opportunities—including opportunities to work with all the other WBEs and corporate partners—is the genuine support and encouragement we receive from everyone in the ecosystem along the way.  We feel the love, to say the least.  And while it’s amazing to have others cheer you on and share in the excitement of the wins, nothing is more encouraging than having these folks in your corner for the inevitable tough days and losses that come with entrepreneurship.  On good days and tough days, WBENC lifts us up, equips us and motivates us to keep plugging away.” – Jessica Findley, Co-Founder & CEO | NeoWaste

Congratulations to all of the WBE Finalists, all of the WBEs that participated and the RPOs for hosting the First Rounds, and thanks again to our presenting sponsors, FedEx and PepsiCo, and to all of our dedicated Corporate Members and WBEs.

More about the 2022 WBENCPitch Competition

The WBENCPitch 2022 competition included three (3) rounds of pitching:

  • Regional First Round Competitions, hosted by Regional Partner Organizations
  • Live Virtual Semi-Finals: 10/24 and 10/25
  • Live In-Person Finals: 11/15 at “Innovate with WBENC” event in DC

WBENCPitch Participant Innovation Criteria includes:

  • Existing innovative product, service, or business solution that is ready for market or currently in market (not a future idea or endeavor seeking an investment).
  • Disruptor in their current market.
  • Differentiation of their business from standard offerings within their industry.
  • Innovative solution that solves a problem in a new/inventive way

We can’t wait to see what all of these WBENCPitch WBEs innovate around next! Stay tuned for more from WBENCPitch in 2023 as we continue the MOMENTUM from this year’s national pitch competition and all of the powerful opportunities occurring within the WBENC network!

Highlights from the 2022 WBENCPitch Finals
WBENCPitch Finals 2022