Artisan food and drink firm BITETOSAVOUR.com is planning to expand into the Republic of Ireland after its founder won the inaugural ‘Power of the Pitch’ bursary at the 10th annual IoD Northern Ireland Women’s Leadership Conference.
Jenna Stevenson from Kilkeel, Co Down, won the £4,000 cash prize along with a package of help-in-kind support from a number of IoD member companies, including global professional services group KPMG and leading law firm Arthur Cox.
She was among five candidates who pitched their business to delegates at the conference, timed to coincide with the week of International Women’s Day.
BITETOSAVOUR aims to showcase artisan food and drink produced in Northern Ireland by selling produce directly via its website and through a range of 20 curated gift boxes.
Jenna said running the business – which she started in 2014 following the birth of her baby – meant juggling work and family commitments:
“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 businesswoman.
“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.”
Among BITETOSAVOUR’s best-selling gift boxes are The Belfast Box, The Taste of Northern Ireland Box and the fast-growing Wee Taste of Home Box, which contains wheaten bread, tea, fudge, biscuits and Tayto, enabling local people to send friends and family overseas a ‘wee taste of home’ whilst supporting local producers.