Budding Entrepreneurs Win Cash & Prizes

November 18, 2016

The 9th Annual Rocket Pitch Competition awards, sponsored by BEDC, the Department of Ecommerce, the BTA and Digicel Business were held on Thursday evening.

This Island-wide Business Plan Competition was a chance for emerging entrepreneurs to submit a plan to launch an enterprise providing products or services to both local and global challenges of any type.

Minister of Economic Development, Dr Grant Gibbons, is joined by the sponsors of the Rocket Pitch Competition behind the first place winners in the four categories of the Rocket Pitch Competition. L-R Back row: Jamillah Lodge, Anthony Hansen, Minister Gibbons, Erica Smith, Marisa Stones, Nick Kempe. Front row: Derek Fisher, Linda Cook, Cesar Filices, Kenaz Lodge.

Rocket Pitch Winners No Banner-2

Minister of Economic Development Dr Grant Gibbons provided an overview of Bermuda’s participation in Entrepreneurship to acknowledge and congratulate the participants in the Rocket Pitch and TechAwards.

“In this room, there is proof that Bermudians have what it takes to reinvigorate our local economy,” the Minister said.

“All those who have participated, whether they will be accepting awards tonight or not, are to be congratulated for their outstanding achievements.”

The Rocket Pitch finals were held on November 14th 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.

Pitch Town had the most entrants with finalists LaKeisha Wolffe, Nea Barnett and Robert Holdipp submitting their respective ideas for, Perfect Date, Full of Beans, Café & Play, and SOLD, a mobile pretzel stand.

Winning 3rd place was Zaire Lodge, for the Biz Camp idea to start Waffle it! – a mobile food stand selling Belgian Liege Waffles. Second place went to Liana Hall for her business Parachute Parcels sending thoughtful gift boxes.

The ultimate winner of the Pitch Town category was Derek Fisher for Whole-Ly fit, his personal training business with a focus on seniors and injured persons. He is utilising a revolutionary device that simulates weight lifting to keep those who aren’t able to lift weights in shape.

The next category with the most entrants was Pitch Pink. Entrepreneurs submitted their ideas to help encourage the development of tourism in Bermuda.

Finalists included Surlena Smith, for her Bermuda Triangle Spy Agency, kids-focused mission impossible style tours; Richai Thompson, who wanted to give tourists a permanent reminder of their experience in Bermuda with his Holy Grail Tattoos; Kristal Davis who took 3rd place with Splash Bermuda an inflatable water park; Schneil Outerbridge and Yelena Packwood who came in second with their Travel Junkie Tour business that provided clients with fully curated tours locally and off island.

Linda Cook won the top prize for her business, Little Longtails, which provides baby concierge services to arriving tourists.

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 3rd place for his passion, 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 receive $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.

She said, “We are so grateful for the support we receive from our sponsors. 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.

He said, “We believe that every entrepreneur who enters the Rocket Pitch Competition is a winner for getting their dream of starting a business underway by coming in to pitch their business plan.”

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Comments (5)

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  1. Prove it says:

    The GEW has not helped to create 16 new businesses. Please name the 16 businesses filed with the Registrar of Companies because many of us doubt the program’s effectiveness.

    • hmmm says:

      You don’t have to be a registered Company to be a business.

    • mentor8 says:

      Over the years far more than 16 Rocket Pitch entrants have launched their businesses. hmmn You seem a bit skeptical. Even negative. Come to the presentations next year and hear for yourself.

  2. Maggie says:

    Congratulations to all the participants and best of luck with your business. Well done one and all. It’s called believing in yourself and believing in Bermuda!

  3. Jenn says:

    Some really great ideas! Hope they materialize!