Rocket Pitch Entrepreneur Winners Announced

November 27, 2019

Finalists of the 12th annual Rocket Pitch competition, developed and organized by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation [BEDC] pitched their businesses before a panel of judges on Wednesday, November 20th in the hopes of winning a share of $25k in cash and services.

Businesses ranging from transportation apps to a vegan butter alternative, pitched in five categories including Pitch Pink – a category geared toward tourism focused solutions – Pitch Tech, Pitch Town – businesses with the local community in mind – and Pitch Green.

Two Youth Pitch finalists also pitched their businesses after they advanced from the Youth Pitch preliminaries that saw 9 students ranging in age from 13 – 16 vie for a spot at the Rocket Pitch finals.

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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: pitchers have five minutes to tell the story of their business to a panel of judges and then respond to questions. Over the past 12 years, the competition, which this year, was sponsored by BEDC, the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Butterfield Bank, Deloitte and the Department of ICT Policy & Innovation, has helped to launch or expand over 20 businesses.

J’Von Furbert [Judge & BEDC Board Member], Qian Dickinson [Judge, Bermemes], Jayde Gibbons [Judge, Past Winner, Queendom Heights]

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1st place and 2nd place winners are chosen for each category. Successful applicants walk away with a cash prize – 1st Place: $5,000 & 2nd Place $1,000 – and also a startup services package, sponsored by local businesses.

This year’s services package included: Business coaching by Transform Bermuda, a discounted photoshoot by Into Bermuda, marketing services by Inspired, accounting services by Quantifi, a gift bag by Walkers Global and discounted web development by Keeon Minors. The winners also walked away with tailored, successful pitches that will help them along their entrepreneurial journey.

Leon Bascome [Judge, Moongate Group], Jayde Gibbons Judge, Past Winner, Queendom Heights], Kyle James [Judge, BEDC Board Member], Melanie Fullerton [Judge, Walkers Global], Tugce Ergul [Judge, Angel Labs]

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The winners of the 2019 Rocket Pitch by category, included:

Youth Pitch: Sponsored by the Department of Labour, Community Affairs & Sports

  • 1st Place Winner: Ahmani’s Cookie Company – A homemade cookie empire made by Ahmani Peets.
  • 2nd Place Winner: Moov App – Developed by Zaire Lodge and Greg Nwangi of Somersfield Academy. The app offers a solution to Bermuda’s public and private transportation system.

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Pitch Tech: Sponsored by the Department of ICT Policy and Innovation

  • 1st Place Winner: Drop It – Carl & Leanne Evans – is a marketplace that showcases local grocery stores and local products. Their goal is to provide our community with a convenient way to shop for the necessities of life and also to provide unique healthy options to our members.
  • 2nd Place Winner: NAB App – Danielle Paynter – Local Shopping, Redefined. Described as, “The NAB App is for everyone! If a brand is sold somewhere on Island, we can tell you where. From clothes, to food, home appliances and tools, we can help you NAB it!”

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Pitch Pink: Sponsored by the Bermuda Tourism Authority

  • 1st Place Winner: Elevate Host Services – Taylor & Thoshlae Williams – A Worry Free, Full-Service Solution to Airbnb Management.
  • 2nd Place Winner: Bermuda Bonfires – David Thomas – Described as, “Bermuda Bonfires strives to provide a stress-free bonfire experience by delivering a superior product and unparalleled customer service. Whether your event is a small intimate engagement, a large corporate party or just a means to relax in ideal conditions with a few friends after a tough week, you can expect to receive unparalleled customer service.”

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Pitch Green: Sponsored by the BEDC & Butterfield Bank

  • 1st Place Winner: Better Butter – Alyson Thompson – A plant based vegan butter alternative that “looks, tastes and acts like butter but it’s better for you.”
  • 2nd Place Winner: Agra Living – Chris Faria – An eco-friendly solution that empowers individuals through sustainable farming educational experiences that help to improve food security in Bermuda.

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Pitch Town: Sponsored by Deloitte & Strata-G Agency

  • 1st Place Winner: Bermuda Child Care – Antonia Holder & Deshae Grant – Bermuda Child Care or is a comprehensive, multifunctional, digital solution for Bermuda’s early childcare industry.
  • 2nd Place Winner: Unfurnished – Christina Musson – a furnishing business with Individual Bedroom & Living Room furnishings available for rent, with the rent to own option.

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Kelsea Williams, Communications & Development Officer at the BEDC, said: “It was really inspiring to see the caliber of the pitches that were submitted this year. The judges had a hard time selecting the winners and the audience was so engaged in the experience.

“This was only the third 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 a great event and in this 12 th year of the competition the BEDC remains encouraged for the future of entrepreneurship.”

BEDC said they “would like to extend a huge thank you to all of the judges, participants and to the sponsors that came on board for Rocket Pitch this year. “

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