Rocketing to success in BEDC competition – The Royal Gazette

Created: Nov 17, 2022 09:24 AM

Pitch perfect: Tyka Edness France, of Ate @ 8, won first prize in the food and drinks category of the BEDC’s Rocket Pitch competition and also the people’s choice award (Photograph supplied)

The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation last night awarded $42,000 to 12 local winners of its annual Rocket Pitch competition.

Six first-place contestants won $5,000 each for their business pitch, while six second-place winners got $2,000 each. There was also a people’s choice award.

Caterer and performer Tyka Edness France, of Ate @ 8, won the food and drinks category and the people’s choice award at the event held in Bacardi’s new 1862 Cocktail Bar at its Hamilton headquarters on Pitts Bay Road in Hamilton.

She told The Royal Gazette her plan was to buy her first business van with the cash.

“Driving around in my own car to jobs, sometimes dishes get broken,” she said.

Her prize for the people’s choice award was a champagne brunch for two at the Crown and Anchor at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, and four hours of creative time with Total Marketing and Communication.

“I have always considered myself to be an underdog,” she said. “But the people’s choice award was a gift that allowed me to be a chosen person. I did not have to be the underdog. People get to love me as much as I love me.”

Since launching Ate @ 8 a year ago, she has been gaining more and more traction with catering engagements at Butterfield Bank, Zurich International and The Bermuda Union of Teachers, to name a few.

“I even served the Premier and a visiting ambassador,” she said. “It was in a very chill setting. It was about being sharp and being dressed in authenticity.”

Ms France adds tropical glamour and a healthy aspect to her food. During her pitch she served the judges samples that included blackened local lobster with beetroot reduction with a ginger chimichurri and pickled purple onion.

She entered the Rocket Pitch competition through Ignite, one of the Rocket Pitch sponsors. She is in their latest cohort.

“I joined Ignite to sharpen my business tools,” she said.

She practised her business pitch for six weeks.

Rocket Pitch was live streamed on YouTube and included finalists from earlier rounds of the competition.

Davida O’Brien won second in the food and drink category with Vida Fusions, a fun drinks business that included cocktails and mocktails.

BEDC executive director Erica Smith said everyone who took part in Rocket Pitch was a winner.

“It is very inspiring for us at the BEDC to know that post-pandemic, creative, innovative ideas are still being developed,” she said. “It is good to know that we have entrepreneurs that are ready to lead the charge, and are meeting the needs of consumers and ultimately changing the world.”

In youth pitch, Osheah Douglas won first for Smart Snaxx, while Aaron Lugo Jr won second place for Lugo’s Mighty Mower.

In pitch tech, Najee Musson won first for 24/7 Lush, while Joshun Stovell won second for Enlightened Expertise.

In pitch pink tourism, Felicia DeRoza won first for Dayrosia Spa & Soap Company, while Tomika Pacheco won second for Off Grid RV Company.

In pitch green, Camily Lovell won first for Strange Bird, while Astoria Smith won second for Lacquered Lounge.

In pitch town, Calshae Iris won first for Craze and Rage while Bryce Williams won second for Royalty Bookstore.

The evening was hosted by Kristin White, of Long Story Short in St George.


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