FITzee Foods and Deaf Man’s BBQ win biz pitch competition
by LAINIE FRASER
Published - 07/26/16 - 01:54 PM | 6293 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jennifer Glanville of Samuel Adams (center) with Pitch Room winners Michelle Weinstein of FITzee Foods (left) and Rasool Raheem of Deaf Man’s BBQ (right).
Jennifer Glanville of Samuel Adams (center) with Pitch Room winners Michelle Weinstein of FITzee Foods (left) and Rasool Raheem of Deaf Man’s BBQ (right).
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Two local entrepreneurs are headed to Boston in December to compete for $10,000 and a year-long business mentoring program after competing in the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Pitch Competition in Mission Beach this week.

Six local business owners presented two-minute sales pitches for their business or product in front of a five person expert panel at Marina Village on Monday, July 25. Judging the entrepreneurs on quality of presentation, creativity, passion and product viability, the panel was unable to select one winner and instead chose both Deaf Man’s BBQ and FITzee Foods.

Michelle Weinstein and FITzee Foods provides pre-packaged healthy meals from scratch with fresh, all-natural ingredients. Customers can select their meals from an online menu that provides a wide variety of meals that meet all kinds of dietary restrictions and requirements. There are specific menus available for meals that are dairy-free, gluten-free, low-carb, Paleo and vegetarian.

FITzee Foods will deliver anywhere in the United States within two days and also offers a drop-off option. A variety of locations around San Diego County can be selected as a drop-off and pick-up spot for your meals. Customers may also visit one of their stores in Point Loma, Miramar or downtown. FITzee Foods wants to save your time, money and waistline.

Deaf Man’s BBQ Sauce was started by Rasool Raheem, a deaf man with a love for cooking. Raheem was introduced to his family’s cajun barbecue sauce recipe at a young age. It was known amongst family and friends as an essential part of every meal.

Along with storytelling and laughter, their barbecue sauce was a must have at every dinner. As a kid, Raheem began experimenting with making the recipe his own. He founded Deaf Man’s BBQ Sauce in 2013 and has been shipping his five signature sauces to barbecue fans across the country ever since. With a sense of humor and the desire to make every meal a special occasion as his family did, Raheem’s company slogan is “You’ll never hear of a better BBQ sauce.”

Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream is a lending and coaching program for small business owners in the food, beverage and craft brewing industries. The first part of the event is the Pitch Competition, which consists of entrepreneurs making two-minute sales pitches and receiving constructive criticism from a panel of experts.

This year’s panel included Jennifer Glanville, the director of brewery programs for Sam Adams, Dave Jones, the director of operations for the Verant Group, Maurice DiMarino, the wine and beverage manager for Cohn Restaurant Group, Michele Parente, a dining, wine and lifestyle reporter for San Diego Union Tribune, and Tim Perreira, the vice president of food and beverage for Islands Restaurant Group.

“Each entrepreneur was passionate, determined and presented really delicious and unique products,” Glanville said. “It was a tough decision, but ultimately the judges thought Deaf Man’s BBQ and FITzee Foods had the most interesting products, and the most potential to really be successful in the marketplace.”

The second part of the event is the Speed Coaching portion. This year, nearly 100 small business owners brought their products and ideas to the table in search of advice and guidance on things like packaging, marketing, social media and finance.

Jim Koch started Sam Adams when no one was interested in craft beer or believed the business would survive. After massive success, Koch decided it was time to help other business owners who are facing the same wall of doubt bring their dreams to life.

More information about Sam Adams Brewing the American Dream can be found at btad.samueladams.com.
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