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Bermuda Selects Its National Winner In The 2nd Annual Future Agro Challenge

Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC)
Bermuda Selects Its National Winner In The 2nd Annual Future Agro Challenge

HAMILTON -- The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) held its 2nd annual Future Agro Challenge (FAC) on Wednesday, 13th January 2016 at the Department of Environmental Protection.   

FAC was designed to help identify solutions to the complex global challenge of feeding the world’s growing population.  By identifying innovators that have creative solutions to their own national problems, FAC seeks to highlight social entrepreneurs across regions and bring them together in order to preserve the future of agribusiness. 

The local competition sought to identify entrepreneurs that are actively working to create and maintain a vibrant agro culture in Bermuda. The final competition came down to two young, ambitious, agro-entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas: Marcus Wade, Wade’s Garden Foods, utilising vertical aeroponic technology to supplement the traditional farming practices in Bermuda and Omari Dill for Utopia with his sustainable agriculture and edible landscaping consultancy. 

The judges had a difficult time of selecting a winner as both presentations were delivered well.  After deliberating, the judges confirmed their National winner, by just two points: Omari Dill with Marcus Wade as 1st runner up.   Said Omari of his win, “I am pleasantly surprised and humbled at being selected.  My goal for starting Utopia has always been to move Bermuda towards local food sustainability by incorporating education, edible landscaping and apprenticeships into my business model.”

The Competition judges included, Thomas Sinclair, The Government Agricultural Officer with the Department of Environmental Protection; Johnathan Starling the Executive Director of Greenrock; and Curtis Dickinson, Executive Vice-President of Butterfield Bank and Head of the Bank’s Group Capital Markets & Treasury Division as well as BEDC’s Deputy Chairman.    Said Mr. Dickinson of the winner “Using Bermuda’s residents to solve the problem of a decline in locally sourced food is an excellent idea.  With edible landscaping, Omari is addressing the problem of an aging farming population by bringing out the farmer in each one of us.”

Thanks to our gracious sponsors, The Department of Parks and the Department of Environmental Protection, the Bermuda National winner will get a chance to pitch their idea, at the global finals in Medellin, Columbia during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in March 2016.  Last year, Bermuda won big, with Bermuda Aerial Media taking home the top prize of €7,000.  Again, Bermuda will be competing against some of the world’s most promising startups in the Agri-business sector thus we wish Omari much success. 

For information about GEW, the public can email Jamillah Lodge at the BEDC at jlodge@bedc.bm, call 292-5570 or go to the BEDC website, www.bedc.bm.

About FAC

The Future Agro Challenge aims to make a global impact by increasing interaction amongst agro innovators, entrepreneurs, stakeholders and investors and by addressing national policies and challenges. FAC is a featured event of the Global Entrepreneurship Week.

FAC supports agro visionaries, farmers, manufacturers, and distributors from countries across several continents.  Exciting innovations are disrupting the status quo in areas like technology inputs, crop production, animal production, agricultural processing, manufacture distribution, and consumer consumption.  The Future Agro Challenge celebrates passion and ideas by creating an environment to showcase transformative innovations and inspiring entrepreneurs.

About BEDC

BEDC has assisted thousands of entrepreneurs start and expand small and medium-sized businesses.  BEDC provides free technical business advice and information, and loan guarantees assistance.  BEDC is currently implementing three socio-economic initiatives, the Economic Empowerment Zones, the Small Business Construction Incubator, and the Market Vendors programme.

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, 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.

The Bermuda Host Committee is made up of the BEDC, Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative of Bermuda (registered charity no. 616) and the Department of E-Commerce. Formed in 2008 the Bermuda Host Committee has grown to include a working committee made up of new and seasoned entrepreneurs and representatives from the public and private sector all acting with the common goal of inspiring the new generation of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers.