Gracey Owen (B’22) Wins Big East Startup Challenge for Her Company, Compost’d

Gracey Owen at Madison Square Garden
Vince Nicastro, Big East Conference Vice Commissioner, presents the Big East Startup Challenge trophy to Gracey Owen and Jeff Reid on center court at Madison Square Garden. Photo courtesy of BIG EAST Startup Challenge 2022.

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Gracey Owen (B‘22) has been named winner of the BIG EAST Startup Challenge 2022 for her award-winning pitch highlighting her startup, Compost’d LLC. 

The competition invites undergraduate students to propose entrepreneurial business ideas and features submissions from all 11 BIG EAST Conference institutions. Teams from each university were evaluated on the marketability, value proposition, feasibility, presentation, and passion for their concepts. The top three teams received an honorarium to fund the continued development of their entrepreneurial concepts.

Owen founded Compost’d LLC to transform the accessibility of composting on a mass market level. Inspired to make the fight against climate change accessible, her company offers a freezable container product that makes composting an easy and effective solution to food waste. 

Owen decided to take part in this challenge after her prior experiences with Georgetown Entrepreneurship’s ongoing programs and events, including participation in the annual Leonsis Family Bark Tank Pitch Competition. After initial product development, Owen created prototypes for Compost’d LLC using the modeling program TinkerCAD and 3D printers available at Lauinger Library’s Maker Hub

“With a brief pitch, I’ve learned it’s essential to simplify your message and directly convey a clear image of the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profits,” said Owen. “Preparing for this pitch was no different as every step of my own process in creating Compost’d LLC faded to the background. I worked with the Entrepreneurs in Residence to pitch to a fresh audience and understand how my pitch came across to individuals with no prior knowledge of my brand or my product.”

Owen and the other competitors pitched their products to a panel of judges that included business leaders, innovators, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs. Owen received an honorarium to continue the development of Compost’d LLC into a fully-fledged business venture. She also was recognized at Madison Square Garden during the BIG EAST Men’s Basketball championship game on March 11.

“Gracey Owen is an impressive young entrepreneur, and in many ways, she embodies the core value of Georgetown Entrepreneurship in that she is using entrepreneurship to solve an important problem for society,” said Jeff Reid, director of Georgetown Entrepreneurship. “As her business grows, less waste will go into landfills, and that will have a great impact on the world. I have enjoyed watching Gracey and her company progress over the last year and I look forward to seeing her future success. Georgetown Entrepreneurship will always be ready to help her however we can.”

Looking forward, Owen plans to launch her product online and create a list of pickup services and drop off locations to serve customers’ composting demands.

“My pitch for Compost’d will only evolve from here. I hope to work with an animator to create an even more robust digital rendering that will produce a commercial quality video for a pre-sale launch and aid my pitch,” said Owen.

The inaugural BIG EAST Startup Challenge was hosted in 2019 by the conference and held in conjunction with the BIG EAST Men’s Basketball tournament. Owen is the third winner of the annual challenge and the first to earn the first place prize from Georgetown McDonough.