Birmingham businesses present winning ideas at The Big Pitch.

Photo collage of different places in Birmingham.
It’s hard not to get excited hearing about all the growth in Birmingham thanks to hard-working business owners! Photo via REV Birmingham’s Facebook.

If you don’t have a favorite Birmingham business yet, you will after hearing about the winners of The Big Pitch! REV Birmingham organized a competition awarding Birmingham startups a total of $50,000 plus professional-services prize packages.

The innovative buzz of Birmingham continues to build through these businesses!

Elysian Gardens takes home the gold.

Birmingham business owners
They’ll need to use some of that first-place $30,000 toward building extra space for this check! Photo submitted.

Why choose between hearing live music, taking yoga classes and marveling at 20 foot sculptures when you could go to one place that has it all! In fact, the list doesn’t end there. That’s the dream for Elysian Gardens, and thanks to their winning pitch, it’s now a reality.

Locals Kelly and William Colburn plan to put the prize money toward their Birmingham business by purchasing large shipping containers for a bar and two restaurants. In addition, the duo also wants to build a stage and covered area for events.

“Elysian Gardens is about opportunity and vibrancy and growth. We’re taking this overgrown lot and making it into something that benefits people. We use art as an economic engine.”

Kelly Colburn

The sculpture garden, restaurant and bar hybrid is right in the heart of Avondale. Elysian Gardens embodies the spirit of Birmingham by connecting neighbor to neighbor through creativity and whimsy.

Birmingham business owners Kelly and William Coburn.
Can’t you picture spending your summer nights at this little oasis? Elysian Gardens plans to open in June of 2020. Photo via Elysian Gardens’ Facebook.

“REV Birmingham worked with us and they are a huge resource. We have so many friends that we’re coming out of this with and resources.”

Kelly Colburn

Follow along with their progress on Instagram @elysiangardensbham  or Facebook, Elysian Gardens Birmingham !

Encore Rouge is a Birmingham business ready to rock your tastebuds.

If you’re not hungry yet, prepare to feel famished. Encore Rouge, a gourmet food truck, took home second place. In addition, the business also won the People’s Choice Award for a grand total of $15,000!

A chicken sandwich from Encore Rouge.
Popeyes who?? This chicken sandwich should be the one making headlines. Photo via Encore Rouge’s Facebook.

The Birmingham business started in 2017 by Antoinne and Shantale Davis. They serve Cajun inspired food like shrimp and grits, bayou burgers and chicken spinach dip. Now, the team is looking into moving their business into someplace that’s not on wheels.

Birmingham business owners Antoinne and Shantale Davis stand with supporters.
You’ll feel the same way as this smiley group after trying a bite of Encore Rouge’s award-winning chicken spinach dip. Photo via Encore Rouge’s Facebook.

The traveling mobile has Birmingham stamped all over them! You’ll definitely want to download their app, Encore Rouge Gourmet, so you can keep up with the truck’s location.

In fact, the finalists at the The Big Pitch got so close, they even made future plans together. You may be seeing Encore Rouge as one of the featured restaurants at Elysian Gardens this summer!

“In the past six years, previous Big Pitch winners have opened nearly 20 new retail locations, which speaks to the competition’s ability to help local entrepreneurs create sustainable businesses within the city. We look forward to seeing Elysian Gardens and Encore Rouge transform their visions into businesses that will, hopefully become a part of this dynamic ecosystem.”

Nick Willis, PNC regional president for Greater Alabama

To see all their mouthwatering options head to their website or follow them on social @encorerouge.

Don’t sleep on the additional finalists!

The owners of Sidekick stand together.
“The customer is the superhero while the apparel and footwear serve as the customers’ loyal sidekick.” Photo via Sidekicks’ website.

Without a doubt, participating in the The Big Pitch is a huge deal for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. So, let’s give it up for all the finalists! The competition was fierce!

  • Jennifer Ryan of The Blueroot Company solves your problem of sacrificing nutrition for convenience by giving you healthy,fresh options on the go. The fast-casual pop-up announced their first brick and mortar shop on 20th St and 3rd Ave.
  • Adrian Ward of The Relaxation Room aims to leave you feeling stress-free, even in as quick as 15 minutes! Sound like something you could use this holiday season? Learn more about the spa here.
  • Bonaventure Akinlosotu and Joseph Bradley of Sidekicks will have all your friends asking, “Where did you get those shoes?” The duo sells premium footwear and apparel that isn’t easily found in the Birmingham area.

These Birmingham businesses are awesome! What did we miss? Let us know on social @bhamnow!