2019 Pitch Competition


The Competitors


John Schrock

Founder & CEO

Born and raised in Ohio, John has always loved eating home cooked meals from his extended Greek family.  As a cook at a restaurant during college, he discovered a love for cooking which led to learning about how food is sourced.  He soon realized the food system is upside down and it needs to be done better.  Food should be both delicious and nutritious, and it starts with setting higher standards.  He sees a future where more food is grown locally so it travels less miles and has a higher nutrition density.  Food grown ethically consumes less water, produces less waste, and is less damaging to the water supply and ecosystems.  Ohio faces challenges with seasons and weather that inhibits freshness and year-round growth.  This inspired him to start Roots Up and focus on hyperlocal food growth to disrupt the standard of how food is grown, distributed, and enjoyed.



Lisa Hinkelman

Founder & Executive Director

Dr. Lisa Hinkelman is an educator, counselor, researcher, author and speaker who has spent nearly fifteen years researching girls and educating adults as both as a professor at The Ohio State University and as the Founder and CEO of Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX). ROX is a national non-profit that provides evidence-based empowerment programming for girls, education and training for the adults who work with and care about girls, and research on the critical issues impacting girls. Lisa is the author of the award-winning book, ‘Girls Without Limits: Helping Girls Achieve Healthy Relationships, Academic Success, and Interpersonal Strength’, and is the principal investigator and author of the groundbreaking publication The Girls’ Index.



Matthew Goldstein


Matthew Goldstein was succeeding in his career at Abercrombie & Fitch. But the weekend calls he took as a suicide hotline volunteer crushed him. His Columbus neighbors, he realized, were suffering from myriad challenges, from mental health to poverty. He wanted to do more—to connect more deeply with the city he loves. To find solutions. To activate generosity. And he realized that loads of fellow friends and colleagues, including many who had moved here from other cities or even countries, wanted the same. However, they couldn’t find easy opportunities.

So Matthew left corporate America and founded Besa, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting those who need it most by connecting people and businesses with local charities. Lift one, and you lift us all.


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