FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   Media Contact: Dan Girouard

November 14, 2022                                                757-727-6237;

Following three virtual micro pitch competitions and a final pitch competition, Start Peninsula is pleased to announce its three winners for 2022: Aunt Carol’s Sauce, ChxmpionChip, and Hemo-stat Vitamins.

  • Aunt Carol’s Sauce: Delicious with meats, vegetables, and especially seafood. Founder, Tahjere Lewis promised his Aunt Carol that he would turn her sauce into a business after he graduated from college. She sadly passed during his freshman year of college unexpectedly. Since then, he has been working to turn that promise into a reality.
  • ChxmpionChip: An enterprise software application for online gambling within Hampton Roads with expansion plans to grow the brand and service nationwide.
  • Hemo-stat Vitamins: Vitamins that are designed to rapidly increase hemoglobin levels in a short period of time, especially for patients having cosmetic surgery as they are required to have certain hemoglobin levels.

Each winner will receive $5,000 to fuel their business growth, a one-year seat at Growth University, and a one-year membership to the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. The virtual pitch competition included 9 participants who had participated in previous events in March, September, and October. All other participants will receive a small cash prize for their efforts. All contestants will continue to have access to and gain guidance from local economic development departments.

Pitches were three minutes with a two minute question-and-answer session with the judges. The final event included a keynote from A.K. Schultz, the CEO, and founder of SVT Robotics.

Judges included:

  • Eileen Brewer, Director of Mentorship, 757 Collab
  • Erica McMannes, Founder and Chief People & Community Officer, Instant Teams
  • Liz Pyle, Virginia Small Business Development Center and ICAP
  • Steve duBois, Managing Partner, Patent Portfolio Builders
  • Jeff Johnson, Director of Tech Center Research Park in Newport News

Start Peninsula builds entrepreneurship on the Peninsula and celebrates our local entrepreneurial ecosystem.  The event helps develop early-stage businesses – those with a product or service that is still being brought to fruition and connects those entrepreneurs with opportunities to validate their business ideas and earn capital. The event is backed by six regional Economic Development Authorities, who are eager to support entrepreneurship. Start Peninsula began in 2012.

Start Peninsula 2022 was hosted by the City of Hampton, in partnership with the Cities of Newport News, Williamsburg and Poquoson and the Counties of James City and York. Start Peninsula has been held annually in different Peninsula localities since 2012. For more information about Start Peninsula, please visit its website, Facebook pageor FAQ page.