Mother & daughter win entrepreneurship final with allergy-friendly foods

Held at the prestigious Level 39 venue in Canary Wharf, My Gammies beat off strong competition to secure a £6,000 investment and a range of business support in the coming year.

UEL psychology student Rebekha Gooden and her mother and business partner, Marie-Anne Rasé, a UEL alumna, impressed judges with their range of fresh bread, waffles, cupcakes, energy bars and cassava chips free of wheat, gluten, dairy and nuts.

Speaking after their win, Rebekha said, “It was really unexpected. We’re so happy to have won. It feels surreal but it’s lovely to have a whole room full of support. The judges see our vision.”

Asked what it was like pitching to a full room and panel of expert judges, Marie-Anne said, “We were nervous beforehand, but it’s something we’re really passionate about. It’s close to our heart.”

The pair came up with the idea after Rebekha’s daughter, who has a fatal allergy and various intolerances, experienced difficulties when it came to finding appropriate food in restaurants, shops and nurseries.

Timothy Isle, UEL’s Enterprise Officer and co-organiser of the competition, said it was great to see how the business ideas had developed over the months leading up to the final. “This is only the beginning for all our finalists,” he said, “I’m really excited to see their ideas progress and become credible businesses based at Knowledge Dock.”

Event judge and director of the Canary Wharf Group, Howard Dawber, said the group was happy to support E-Factor. “With the tech sector in Canary Wharf now established as one of Europe’s main centres, there couldn’t be a more exciting time to be working in partnership with one of the UK’s most innovative universities.”

Other finalist pitches included an interactive art installation live streamed over the internet, a nightclubbing app, a business bringing together local services and organisations in east London and a website helping students find accommodation.