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Rocket Pitch winners

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Youth: 2018 Rocket Pitch Youth competitors with the judges. From left, Jamillah Lodge, Information, Education and Communications Officer at the BEDC; judge Toby Kempe, Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative (YEI); winners Natalie Calderon and Madison Thompson; judge Shelly Bell, founder of Black Girl Ventures; Youth Pitch runner-up Andreaz Glasgow, and judge Constance Dierman, US Consul General (Photograph supplied)

Finalists of the 11th Annual Rocket Pitch competition put on by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) pitched their new businesses before a panel of judges on Thursday, November 15 in the hopes of winning the share of $25k in cash and services.

Businesses ranging from travel apps to holistic body treatments were pitched in five categories including PitchPink (Tourism), PitchTech, PitchTown (Local) and Pitch Green. Two Youth Pitch finalists also pitched their businesses after they had advanced from the Youth Pitch preliminaries that saw 12 students ranging in age from 12 – 17 vie for a spot at the Rocket Pitch finals. The judges on the evening were for the PitchPink category: Pat Phillip-Fairn from the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA); Linda Cook of Little Longtails, who won the PitchPink category in 2017; Lee Simmons of Butterfield Bank. Judges for PitchTech were Maryem Biadillah from the Department of ICT Policy & Innovation; Stacey Ferreira, CEO of Forge; and Melvin Dickenson of Mediaville. Judges for PitchTown were J’Von Furbert, BEDC board member; Tracy Hayward owner of School Boxez, winner of the PitchTown category in 2017; and Steven McGuinness of HSBC Bermuda. Judges for the Pitch Green category were Connor Burns, of Bermuda Aerial Media; Ian Strachan of Yabsta/Bermuda Yellow Pages; and Felicia Rickards, BEDC board chair, and the judges for the Youth Pitch category were Shelly Bell, founder of Black Girl Ventures; Toby Kempe, Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative (YEI); and Constance Dierman, US Consul General.

The Rocket Pitch competition was launched in 2008 as part of the inaugural Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). The business plan competition is a chance for emerging entrepreneurs to submit a plan to launch a business to help serve both local and global challenges. The framework of the Rocket Pitch presentation is simple: the presenter has five minutes to tell a story on their business idea to a panel of judges and then respond to questions. Over the past 11 years, the competition, which this year, was sponsored by BEDC, the BTA and the Department of ICT Policy & Innovation, has helped to launch or expand over 20 businesses.

The winners of the 2018 Rocket Pitch by category, included:

Youth Pitch

Winner: Bermuda High School students Madison Thompson and Natalie Calderon’s “Meal Deal” – an app that will help people identify and track items in their fridge and let them know when they are running low and what nearby stores carry the items, as well as note the lifecycle of foods and when they go bad.

Runner up: Berkeley student Andreaz Glasgow, “Guess What”, which will provide participants with a tongue twisting experience that turns bitter and sour sweet using a unique tablet that dissolves on the tongue


Winner: Adrian Lodge, with his business “Bermuda Island Games”, a series of educational games about Bermuda.

Runner up: Marquis Caines, with his business “Aye Yo!”, an app for visitors to ensure they have the best experience while visiting the island.


Winner: Owner Michael Paynter and General Operations Manager and Head Tour Guide Luke Lindo with their business “e-Tour Adventures”, which was started to provide visitors and locals alike with a safe alternative transportation option via electric bicycles. E-Tours primarily caters to visitors in the East End and provide historical and educational tours and independent rentals.

Mr Paynter added: “Our mission is to provide economically viable options for transportation that just so happens to be environmentally friendly.”

Runner up: Denis Pitcher with his business “Trip Bounties”, a business that offers rewards to people for using participating businesses or services.


Winner: Alicia Trott with her business “Seeds of Indigo”, an argo holistic wellness centre providing holistic treatments and plant-based nutrition.

Runner up: Jonathan Starling with his business “Calypso Cravings”, which will provide high quality local food products including spoon sweets, escargot and scallops.


Winner: Jayde Gibbons with her business “Queendom Heights”, a photography business that sells local prints, greeting cards, books and apparel with images of Bermuda taken from a unique perspective.

Runner up: Peter Matcham with his business “The Bridge House Gallery”, a photography and graphic design business providing Bermuda images.

Jamillah Lodge, Information, Education and Communications Officer at the BEDC, said: “It’s always inspiring to see the caliber of the pitches that are submitted every year. The judges had a hard time selecting a winner because the level of pitches continues to rise. This was only the second year that we’ve introduced a Youth category and the 1st and 2nd place format. This way, everyone is a winner. The Rocket Pitch continues to be an inspiring event and in this 11th year of the competition the BEDC remains encouraged for the future of entrepreneurship.”

For more information about the Rocket Pitch finals, visit www.gew.bm.

About BEDC

Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) is Bermuda’s premier source of free confidential business advice for entrepreneurs. The mission is to serve Bermuda’s local business community with the highest degree of professionalism by providing, authoritative business advice; counsel and loan guarantee support. Bermuda Business Starts Here! For more information visit www.bedc.bm.

About GEW:

During one week in November the world spotlights how young people’s ideas can contribute to global economic development. GEW Global, which started in 2008 with the Kauffman Foundation and the UK’s Make your Mark organization, has grown to include Host Committees in over 150 countries. With the help of governments and non-government organizations, Host Countries coordinate events ranging from invention competitions to local entrepreneurship summits designed to stimulate creative solutions, jumpstart innovation and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit, especially among young people.

Formed in 2008 the Bermuda Host Committee is made up of the BEDC, Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative of Bermuda (registered charity no. 616) and the Department of ICT Policy & Innovation. The Committee acts with the common goal of inspiring the new generation of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers

Press release from Bermuda Economic Development Corporation

Town: 2018 Rocket Pitch PitchTown competitors with the judges.From left, Jamillah Lodge, Information, Education and Communications Officer at the BEDC; judge J’Von Furbert, BEDC board member; runner-up Peter Matcham, winner Jayde Gibbons; Steven McGuinness of HSBC Bermuda; and Tracy Hayward owner of School Boxez (Photograph supplied)
e_Tour: 2018 Rocket Pitch PitchPink winners Michael Paynter and Luke Lindo of e-Tour adventures withJamillah Lodge, Information, Education and Communications Officer at the BEDC (Photograph supplied)