Kittea Ukkola, owner of Elixiba herbal bar and vegan restaurant on Ocean St. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily
Kittea Ukkola, owner of Elixiba herbal bar and vegan restaurant on Ocean St. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily Patrick Woods

Herb-distilled superfood cocktail, anyone?

NESTLED amongst the hustle and bustle of Ocean Street in Maroochydore is a unique restaurant and bar offering some world-first taste sensations.

From a nettle-infused vodka to a clever, colour-changing cocktail, Elixiba's boutique, vegan bar and restaurant has some curious creations.

It's the first of its kind, serving a range of food and drinks blended with a variety of rare and healthy, active botanicals.

Elixiba owner Kittea Ukkola has been nominated in this year's Sunshine Coast Business and Tourism Awards as a Young Entrepreneur of the Year - and it's clear to see why.

Ms Ukkola's business idea took more than five years to come to fruition and is so popular that new venues are in planning for New South Wales, Western Australia and even Bali.

Elixiba's menu features an exclusive range of alcohols that have been custom-brewed and distilled using herbs, superfoods and bush tucker foods, along with unique non-alcoholic herbal elixirs that have relaxing, energising, mood enhancing, aphrodisiac and other effects.

Each of the straws used have been hand crafted and carved by a young boy in Ubud, Bali, helping him pay for his education.

In fact, every purchase gives something back to people in need and details are listed on customer receipts so they can see where their contribution goes.

Elixiba owner Kittea Ukkola.
Elixiba owner Kittea Ukkola.

Kittea's philosophy is based on her love of organic horticulture and herbal medicine and through Elixiba she aims to share a range of experiences.

"I wanted to create a place that people could enjoy, creating something that didn't make health and social life separate things, so people can have a drink but choose healthy options and still feel great about it the next day," she said.

"With more venues opening in Robina in October and Byron in December it's a busy time, plus I'm in Bali for a few weeks helping an entrepreneurial beach club get started, offering them training and advice.

"I'm also helping establish another wholefood project in Perth and coaching other amazing entrepreneurs on the side."

Although competitors and copycats will likely follow, Kittea believes that her great ideas are worth sharing.

"It's a unique concept - we know people will catch on and we hope they do. We just want to be at the leading edge."

Kittea also has some good advice for other young entrepreneurs.

"Just go for it and don't be scared to fail.

"Every idea has value and if you fail it is okay, it's an opportunity to grow.

Kittea Ukkola in Bali assisting in the set up of an entrepreneurial beach club.
Kittea Ukkola in Bali assisting in the set up of an entrepreneurial beach club.

"I think the biggest difference between someone who is an entrepreneur and someone else is seeing how they face a challenge. The power of the mind can often be the biggest thing to overcome."

SunCentral Maroochydore, the company established to oversee design and delivery of the new Maroochydore City Centre, is sponsoring the inaugural Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

CEO John Knaggs said innovation and entrepreneurship were central to the vision for the new Maroochydore CBD and this award would help foster young talent in the region.

"Start-ups and entrepreneurs bring new skills, experience and connections to the Sunshine Coast, diversifying the local economy and creating jobs," he said.

"We were more than happy to sponsor an award that encourages innovation and rewards bright young entrepreneurs who are prepared to back themselves and put their clever ideas into practice."

About the award

The Young Entrepreneur of the Year category has been introduced to recognise people under 35 who organise, manage and assume the risk of a successful business or enterprise.

Businesses can self-nominate or anyone may nominate their favourite business. Nominations are free and open to businesses that have been operating on the Sunshine Coast for 12 months or more.

Overall more than 300 nominations for businesses have already been received many with multiple nominations for the individual and excellence awards.

For 22 years the Sunshine Coast Business and Tourism Awards have been celebrating the achievements of the local business community, making it the longest standing and most prestigious awards program in the region.


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