SBIR Phase I: SaaS-Based Procurement and CRM Systems for Local Food Markets

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Hevva LLC
PO Box 5155, # 286, madison, WI, 53705
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Heather Hilleren
(608) 395-4990
Business Contact:
Heather Hilleren
(608) 395-4990
Research Institution:
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project aims to develop tools to enable an online marketplace for locally-grown foods. Currently, two million small and mid-sized US farms struggle to take advantage of the increase in demand for local foods. Increases in sales and margins make it difficult for buyers to source new product and conduct their transactions in an efficient manner. This inefficient market is one reason why 330 small to mid-sized farms go out of business every week. This project will provide a three-fold solution by: (1) developing an innovative Software as a Service (SaaS)-based internet trading site for local food markets; (2) incorporating a SaaS-based customer relationship management platform into this trading site to create a unified system for conducting and monitoring transactions; and (3) licensing this unified SaaS-based system. Fresh foods are now the fastest growing sector of the market. Buying local is quickly outpacing organic as the new trend in food as customers see the value of fresher products, increased variety, and reduced environmental impact while supporting their local community. Anecdotal evidence from market leaders such as Whole Foods Market, Wild Oats, and Byerly Lunds supports the increasing importance of locally produced products over organics. Each store displays a daily tally on the number of local products offered; a similar tally for organic foods is not provided. Unfortunately, despite this steadily growing demand for locally produced food, no agricultural supply chain network has been developed to support this demand. Large food distributors have existing supply systems that are suitable only for large-scale farm operations. Local producers, predominantly small and mid-sized, still rely on outdated methods for reporting offerings, availability, pricing, quality, and for arranging delivery schedules. Buyers, overwhelmed with the time-consuming tasks of juggling information from multiple buyers, typically revert to ordering online from their known large distributors, and thus under-utilize local producers.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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