Entrepreneurs rewarded for business ideas
Economic development minister Grant Gibbons has heaped praise on those who took part in the Annual Rocket Pitch Competition which saw entrants challenged to come up with new business ideas.
“In this room, there is proof that Bermudians have what it takes to reinvigorate our local economy,” said the Minister, who presented the winners with their awards.
The Business Plan competition was a chance for emerging entrepreneurs to submit a plan to launch an enterprise providing products or services.
Sponsored by BEDC, the Department of eCommerce, the Bermuda Tourism Association and Digicel Business, the awards ceremony took place on Thursday evening.
“All those who have participated, whether they will be accepting awards tonight or not, are to be congratulated for their outstanding achievements,” added Mr Gibbons.
The Rocket Pitch finals were held on November 14 to coincide with the launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Twenty entrepreneurs entered the competition vying for the grand prize of $5,000.00 in cash and start-up services.
The winner of the Pitch Town category was Derek Fisher for Whole-Ly idea — a personal training business with a focus on seniors and injured persons.
Second place went to Liana Hall for her business Parachute Parcels, sending thoughtful gift boxes.
And Zaire Lodge took third place for his Biz Camp idea to start Waffle it! — a mobile food stand selling Belgian Liege Waffles.
The next category was Pitch Pink which urged entrepreneurs to submit their ideas to help encourage the development of tourism.
Linda Cook won the top prize for her business, Little Longtails, which provides baby concierge services to arriving tourists. Schneil Outerbridge and Yelena Packwood came in second with their Travel Junkie Tour business that provided clients with fully curated tours locally and off island. Third prize went to Kristal Davis with Splash Bermuda, an inflatable water park.
The Department of eCommerce-sponsored Pitch Tech category awarded Kris Smith, owner of Go!Ceries, the third place certificate for her online grocery business.
There was a tie for second place with Cranston Warren, Harry Matthie and Sloane Chinapoo and Claudine Pullen receiving recognition for SWIM, an automatic inflating swimming device for the disabled and an online rating site for rental properties.
The first prize went to Kenaz Lodge for his idea Cahgo, creating a “sharing economy” for cargo space by matching supply with demand.
This year marked the introduction of the Pitch Green category. Jahvon Thomas took home third place for Green Progressive Solutions. Chefanices Williams, 2016 Biz Camp winner, and Keishunda Curtis tied for second place with their businesses Farming Express and Be Clear, respectively.
Cesar Filices, representing Sandys Middle School, took home the first place prize for Aqua Farm Ltd. — the first licensed facility that successfully breeds locally grown Tilapia to assist Bermuda towards its goal of food sovereignty.
The first place winners in all four categories received $4,000 in cash and over $1,000 in services from local industry experts including: IntoBermuda, SocialLee Consulting, Red Bicycle, graphic design, Quantifi Accounting Solutions, Deep Blue Communications, Connectech, Cox Hallett Wilkinson Limited and Digicel Business.
Information Education & Communication Officer for the BEDC, Jamillah Lodge, praised sponsors for their support.
“We are so grateful for the support we receive from our sponsors,” she said. “Their continued participation in this competition is an indication that the community respects and supports the development of new business ideas.”
The Rocket Pitch Competition has helped to create 16 new businesses
Also extending congratulations to the participants was Joe Mahoney, Executive Director of the Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative and coordinator of the GEW Bermuda Host Committee. “We believe that every entrepreneur who enters the Rocket Pitch Competition is a winner for getting their dream of starting a business under way by coming in to pitch their business plan,” he said.