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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Foodie entrepreneur start-up Locavore cooks up Business Plan win

Locavore won the eighth Fort Worth Business Plan Competition Thursday. The four-month competition is a program of the City of Fort Worth’s Office of Small Business and is presented by Capital One.

Locavore is an all-inclusive resource for foodie entrepreneurs looking to affordably scale up their business, offering for rent commercial kitchens, office space and an event venue. It is owned by Cortney Gumbleton and Carlo Capua.

Runners-up in the competition at Brown Lupton University Union at Texas Christian University were second-place finisher Aspen Tyke Traveler and third-place finisher Cache.

Aspen Tyke Traveler developed and manufactures innovative, supportive diaper bags and packing systems that help prepare new parents for on-the-go adventures with young children. The owners are Glen and Sarinya Oliver.

Cache has developed a mobile app that allows consumers direct access to purchase tax foreclosure properties from anywhere in the world. Mateson Gutierrez is the founder.

The three took home cash and prize packages valued at more than $56,000, including $10,000 cash for Locavore, $5,000 for Aspen Tyke Traveler and $3,000 for Cache. They were judged on their written business plans and their seven minutes of presentation and seven minutes of answers to questions from judges. The three finalists had emerged from the 10 semifinalists who competed during a Pitch Night presentation Oct. 11 at the Moncrief Cancer Institute.

“A truly amazing journey, one of the best nights of my life,” Gumbleton said. “All the friendships we made … a cohort that builds and supports our businesses together.”

“The idea started as a dream Cortney had. I’m glad she brought me in on it,” Capua said.

Locavore, which means eat locally, targets three types of food enthusiasts — the dreamers, the side hustlers and those that have kitchens and want to grow but are maxed out on space. Locavore manages four kitchen sites and has approximately 25 regular customers. Reserving kitchen space at $25 an hour is done online. The revenue streams are renting space, hosting events and the signature food events it produces.

During the presentation, Gumbleton and Capua said, “People say there are too many cooks in the kitchen; actually, there’s not enough kitchens for them to cook in.” They also said they were in negotiations to manage five more kitchens.

And they plan to give back to the food community with their $10,000 first prize. “If we win,” they announced during their presentation, “we are going to put on in the spring a Food Business Boot Camp.”

The competition, open to Tarrant County businesses and startups, began in July. Twenty five businesses from 50 entries were selected for five educational sessions and a minimum of two business counseling sessions. Each business also was paired with MBA students from TCU and the University of Texas at Arlington.

Robert Sturns, Director of the City of Fort Worth’s Economic Development Department, which oversees the Office of Small Business, said: “A great plan and presentation by Cortney and Carlo; all three presentations were strong and all three were very impressive competitors.

“This has been a long and satisfying journey for the three finalists – training, coaching and mentoring during four months. All have gone through a comprehensive educational process to be able to formulate a business plan that will positively impact their business and potentially, the local economy. We are grateful to our judges, our partners and sponsors who make this competition possible.”

Presenting and founding sponsor of the event is Capital One and founding sponsor is The Alternative Board of Tarrant County. Prize sponsors include Capital One, Accelerate DFW, Solomon Bruce Consulting, Fort Worth Business Press, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, ADvice, The Alternative Board of Tarrant County, CoLab Creative Group, Ensemble Coworking and JimAustinOnline. Training sponsors are Frost Bank and Tarleton State University. Pre-Pitch event sponsor is National Bank of Texas and Pitch Night was sponsored by BB&T, Bourland Wall & Wenzel, UTA College of Business and Meat U Anywhere. Support for the competition also is provided by the media sponsor, Fort Worth Business Press, Accelerate DFW, Moncrief Cancer Institute, TCU Neeley School of Business and Office of Small Business partners SCORE and Tarrant Small Business Development Center.

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