GCC Entrepreneurial Studies Major Wins $30,000 for Business

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
 

An Entrepreneurial Studies major at Gateway Community College (GCC) developing an app to bring farm fresh produce into the hands of consumers won a $30,000 award to support the venture.

GCC Student Brendan Tyma of Woodbridge recently learned of the second place win for his company, Locavore, in a contest sponsored by Builder from Engineer.ai. Lovacore was founded by Tyma and Katherine Robucci, a student at Central Connecticut State University, with whom he participated in a New Venture Challenge course offered at GCC. Engineer.ai helps companies build and operate custom-designed software and Tyma learned of the contest while researching app building software.

The winners were judged on the perceived ability for the business become successful in a number of areas, including gaining customers and fulfilling a need in the marketplace. In announcing the award, Engineer.ai praised the concept.

“The Lovacore app is a virtual farmer’s market with the goal of connecting the local community to what local products are available to them and where they are. By partnering with multiple sellers across many local product types, they’re able to supply a wide range of local products in an easy-to-use platform,” the announcement said.

Tyma served in the U.S. Army and attends GCC through the GI Bill. He spent four years in the service, serving as a truck driver, in ammunition handling, and with information technology and communication.

He is owner of BeeSpoke Farm and Apiary in Woodbridge, which specializes in honey bee starter colonies. Tyma and Robucci saw a need for an easier way to connect consumers with local growers, bakers and the producers of other products offered at farmer’s markets. Lovacore was chosen as the name of the company because the word describes a person who consumes only or principally locally grown or produced food.

Tyma said that the business is a good fit for him because he makes a point of purchasing about 90 percent of his food locally during the warmer months. He felt that there was a need for a way to bridge information between suppliers and buyers because different growers have different produce in supply. The app supports local vendors while offering convenience to consumers.

In a survey of consumers, he found that a large number responded well to the idea for the app. The product launch is planned for spring 2020.