Millennia Tea

Sponsored Content with: BDC

​Tea is not only comforting, it’s also the most consumed beverage on Earth after water. For a New Brunswick couple, a promising business flowed from the ancient drink.

​Rory and Tracey Bell, the founders of Millennia Tea, first turned to tea because of a health scare in their family. The beverage is known for its health benefits, which stem from its high concentration of cancer-fighting antioxidants.

​On a quest to bolster their well-being, the pair wound up learning all about how tea is made. All types, regardless of their colour, style, or flavour, are derived from leaves of the same plant, called Camellia Sinensis. The variations come from being processed differently.

​They also discovered that antioxidant levels are highest when the leaves are first picked. It made sense to the Bells, then, to consume the freshest tea possible to get the maximum health benefits. They were stunned to discover they couldn’t find fresh tea anywhere in

​North America. So, they decided to make it themselves, devising a process to flash-freeze the leaves right after picking.

​With Millennia Tea, they have not only launched a new venture with the potential for global reach but have also created an entirely new category of tea.

​Now, they’re ready to share their tea with the world. And they are one step closer after landing a deal on Dragons’ Den.

​Contributing to the couple’s successful pitch was the strength of their relationship. He is a career medevac pilot and she is a former public-relations specialist, and the parents’ mutual respect and support were clear to the Dragons from the start.

​“Rory and Tracey presented together as a well balanced and driven team,” says Robert Duffy, Managing Director of Growth & Transition Capital at the Toronto office of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). “The appearance of being a good team is really what prompts Arlene’s joke at the end about Rory being smart enough to let Tracey talk. I loved this moment because that comment contains a real kernel of truth for other founder groups to consider. When there is more than one leader in a company, each must accept their role and own it.

​“Being able to understand your specific value to the company will give your team the best chance of being successful,” he adds. “That’s what teamwork is all about.”

​Start-up financing gives aspiring entrepreneurs the foothold they need to launch their businesses. Having a solid idea or product and presenting it as a confident, cohesive team also helps garner the backing of qualified investors, as the Bells did in the Den.

​“Having multiple offers is a very good sign—especially at the pre-revenue stage,” Duffy says. “Hopefully this round of capital and new partnership will bring Millennia Tea the opportunity that matches their potential.”

This is paid content provided by or produced on behalf of BDC.

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