McNeese Students Develop Service to Connect Local Businesses with Community
Since winning the collegiate category of the 2019 SEED Center Business Pitch Competition, McNeese State University students Brian Flanagan, marketing, and Warren Vandever, mechanical engineering have expanded their mobile app GOPHR from an idea with five employees to a business with 30 full-time team members.
GOPHR is a virtual marketplace where consumers can order their favorite items from local retailers and have those products delivered directly to their doorstep.
As winners, the team received $5,000 towards startup costs and three month’s space inside the Seed Center Business Incubator. GOPHR is now located in downtown Lake Charles.
“We’re a local business and we want to be intentional about helping our community support the economy right here in Southwest Louisiana,” says Flanagan.
GOPHR is currently operating online and will launch a mobile app in the coming weeks. Approximately 100 local merchants are registered with GOPHR and currently accept delivery orders via phone, website or social media direct message.
“Until our app is launched, customers must first make contact with a merchant to place an order. Merchant owners have a designated site that allows them to communicate with our team to collect and deliver an order,” explains Flanagan. “During the coronavirus, we have coordinated no-contact delivery and many of our partners have been happy to continue providing for their customers.”
GOPHR has also collaborated with Rouses Markets in Sulphur and in Moss Bluff to create an online shopping option for community members over 65 who wish to stay home during the pandemic.
“We’re happy to provide this alternative for Rouses’ shoppers. It’s an easy way to care for our friends while keeping them safe,” says Flanagan.
An online marketplace is also available for those looking for wholesale options. According to Flanagan, many restaurants in the area have taken advantage of this option while suppliers limit face-to-face interaction.
“We can’t thank the community enough for supporting us and we’re excited to continue rolling out new projects,” says Flanagan.
For more information, visit gophrapp.com. The 2020 Business Pitch Competition, originally scheduled for April, is postponed.
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