Jenna Stevenson, a 30 year old start-up entrepreneur from Kilkeel, Co Down, has won the inaugural Power of the Pitch contest at the IoD Women’s Leadership Conference in Belfast.
Her prize is £4,000 in cash along with help in kind support from a number of IoD members’ companies including KPMG and Arthur Cox. The win will enable Jenna’s business, bitetosavour.com, to grow beyond the shores of Northern Ireland.Timed to coincide with the week of International Women’s Day, where the world celebrates the achievements of women, it was fitting that the Conference recognised a young mum, who started her business just after her baby was born and who shows young women in Northern Ireland just what can be achieved with a vision and determination.
“I started BITETOSAVOUR just after Annabelle was born. It has been tough starting a business with a baby and then a toddler running around, but I was determined to be both a mum and a business woman. I have had a supportive family, an incredible husband and a daughter who has grown up around artisan food and our boxes. My checklist before I drive off is often nappies, bottle, wipes, boxes, packing wood wool, chutney, jam … and Annabelle! It has been challenging, but fun. My sales board often has her squiggles on it and I sometimes take sales calls whilst bouncing her on my knee, but that’s par for the course for mums who start businesses. It’s great to see the IoD not only recognising and celebrating women who start-up businesses, but actively supporting them in this way with a much needed cash award and invaluable business support. I am humbled and very grateful. Thank you everyone who voted for me”.
"We are delighted that someone as determined and focused as Jenna won The Power of the Pitch contest,” says Linda Brown, Director of IoD in Northern Ireland. “It was a live audience vote amongst the 300 delegates after a 2 minute video and live pitch and Jenna took the majority of the votes.”
Catriona Gibson, Managing Partner at Arthur Cox added her congratulations to Jenna, “We had 5 fantastic finalists to choose from: two tech businesses, a dance school, a beauty product as well as BITETOSAVOUR, showing the quality and variety of female start-ups in Northern Ireland. Along with IoD Northern Ireland, Arthur Cox are delighted to support grassroots business start-up and growth in this way, not just with an award, but with practical support that will help to accelerate the company into, what we hope to be, a valuable business for our future economy.”
KPMG Partner, Ashleen Feeney said, “KPMG would like to see more women inspired by Jenna’s example to start up a business and hopefully this time next year we will be showcasing the growth of BITETOSAVOUR when we crown her successor at the 2018 Women’s Leadership Conference.”
Jenna Stevenson is the founder of bitetosavour.com, a business that showcases Northern Irish artisan food and drink and enables people to ‘buy local’. The public can buy produce direct through the website, in the retail space in Studio Souk Belfast or choose from a range of over 20 curated gift boxes. Jenna’s top selling artisan food gift boxes include The Belfast Box, The Taste of N.Ireland Box and the fast-growing Wee Taste of Home Box, which contains wheaten, tea, fudge, biscuits and Tayto, enabling locals to send friends and family overseas a ‘wee taste of home’ whilst supporting local producers. The business also creates bespoke corporate gift boxes and on-trend Christmas hamper boxes. The £4,000 cash prize will be used to create designs and sleeves for the full box range, including The Gluten Free Box, The N.Irish Chocolate Box, Mother’s Day, #girlsnightin and also for the Taste of Ireland Box and The Dublin Box so that BITETOSAVOUR can launch down South.
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