Ignite celebrates participants’ achievements

  • Award winner: Melissa Looby of Pulse Group is flanked by Ignite chairman Don Mackenzie, right, and the organisation's executive director Sean Reel

(Photograph supplied)

    Award winner: Melissa Looby of Pulse Group is flanked by Ignite chairman Don Mackenzie, right, and the organisation's executive director Sean Reel (Photograph supplied)

Ignite Bermuda, the island’s first privately-funded entrepreneurial accelerator, wrapped up its first cohort by handing out awards to five participants in the programme.

Melissa Looby, of Pulse Group, won the Ignite Ethos Award, which rewards the extent to which an entrepreneur takes action and gets out of their comfort zone.

Pulse Group is a project and event management firm with a concentration on sports.

Ms Looby launched the business in 2017 on a part-time basis. She has been a circulation assistant at Bermuda’s youth library off and on for a decade, including for the last 14 months.

Her final shift at the library was on Saturday. On Monday, she began working on Pulse full-time — and, yesterday, she began a contract position as an event co-ordinator for the World Triathlon Series event that will be held on-island in April. Working under the lead project manager, she will concentrate on volunteers, sustainability and diversity.

Ms Looby says the six-month Ignite programme, led by executive director Sean Reel, gave her the mindset necessary to chase her ambition of working on the WTS event.

“I mentioned to Sean that I was interested in working for them, and he said ‘well, what’s the problem?’” Ms Looby said. “He said ‘you know what you want, you know how to make it work, so go for it’. I just thought they wouldn’t listen to little ol’ me — but they did.”

Yesterday, Ms Looby attended her first WTS meeting. She said: “I never imagined six months ago that’s where I would be sitting.”

Colin Rego of Sargasso Sea Ltd won the Ignite Dynamism Award, which recognises outstanding achievement over the duration of the cohort. Mr Rego was recognised as having the dynamism and positive attitude of a natural leader, the organisation said, while having a validated business model, demonstrating significant business growth and continually learning and developing.

The Sargasso Sea app “makes life easier by allowing you to purchase what you like, where you like, when you like, finding local products you crave, all delivered to you”, Mr Rego says. The business started with restaurant food delivery, and has plans to expand to further categories.

Alicia and Sabrina Kirby, the entrepreneurs behind Wanderlust Explorers Ltd, won Ignite’s 60-second pitch competition in front of a panel of judges.

The winners finished ahead of other finalists Taylor Rankin of DreamDish, Rochelle Minors of fashion brand Rochelle Nichole, and Samuel Outerbridge and Adam Petty of clothing retailer Coral Coast.

Wanderlust is described by its founders as “an authentic Bermudian tour company which provides dynamic tour experiences year-round for active adventurers, culture and leisure seekers”.

Mr Rankin won the Ignite Entrepreneurs’ Choice Award, voted on by the Ignite community, that recognises the entrepreneur who demonstrates the greatest degree of give-back, or support, of the hub.

His project, DreamDish, is an early stage business that is creating an app to allow its users to enjoy unique experiences, order special food items, and be guided by curated maps, in Bermuda and elsewhere.

The Ignite Acceler8 Award was given to Christina Sgobba of Lemoncello Design. The award is given to the entrepreneur who demonstrated significant progress during the programme.

Lemoncello Design is a Bermudian-based design studio that specialises in creating bespoke graphics with local artists for the benefit of small businesses and individuals.

In partnership with UK-based Entrepreneurial Spark, the Ignite programme provides coaching and mentoring, a formalised curriculum, workspace to share and collaborate with peers, and access to a network of investors.

The first cohort of 17 entrepreneurial ventures began the programme in May, and wrapped up their stay in the hub on Friday.

A second cohort of entrepreneurs will enter the programme in January.

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Published Nov 20, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 19, 2019 at 7:13 pm)

Ignite celebrates participants’ achievements

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