Come to Bristol: Task force hears 5 grant proposals for new city businesses

Published on Monday, 17 July 2017 21:58
Written by Lorenzo Burgio


BRISTOL - Five businesses gave live presentations to the Bristol Development Authority and StartUP Bristol Task Force yesterday morning at Biker’s Edge for the third and final round of the business plan competition.

The task force will decide the three grant winners of the program based on the presentations and their business plans, explained Justin Malley executive director at the BDA.

Malley noted that the task force helped dream up the program and went through 30 applications that were submitted to determine which businesses moved forward. The force’s effort is “dedication to the city,” said Malley.

First place receives a $50,000 grant, second $30,000 and third $20,000. Grants are only distributed after the business establishes a presence in the city, according to Malley.

The first business that presented was Disability Defenders. Heather Clark LoNero explained to the task force that the company’s objective is to provide representation for Bristol residents applying for disability benefits.

LoNero noted that the business focuses on people under the age of 65 that are no longer able to work.

“The launch date for Disability Defenders is October 2018 in the West End area. We are committed to Bristol,” LoNero said. “We plan to work with local organizations for connections and to get the information we have about disability benefits out there.”

Next Andrew Cowell and Chris Throwe of Farmington River Holdings presented about increasing productivity in the commercial, industrial, military, oil and gas fields with hands-free, local, team radio communication technology.

Throwe explained that eight people can be hook up to the headset’s network at a time, and their design and technology is aimed at hazardous locations, which is a market that is untouched by competitors.

“The product has recently begun being used in a nuclear plant,” Throwe said. “It also allowed digital signals with encryption, which is something the military is looking for in the market.”

“We are now based in Hamden but want to get into central Connecticut,” Cowell said. “We identified this as a good base for manufacturing, and we are planning to acquire other businesses in the area. The grant would be used to develop the product and find an electrical engineer.”

Adam von Gootkin gave the next presentation for Movia Robotics, which develops robots to help autistic children at school and home develop social and educational skills.

“The robot has proven to have an impact on helping a child with autism,” Gootkin said. “The results have been astounding. Kids have been able to learn and retain the information.”

It was explained that every child diagnosed on an autism spectrum receives an Individualized Education Plan that changes as the child grown older.

“We have the technology with seven years of research to deploy the startup, and the product is ready to go,” Gootkin added. “The goals and objectives of the robot can change, and we can change it to grow with children, as their needs and IEP numbers change.”

Next was Matthew Soulier from North East Food Truck Festival of New England, who explained that after a year and a half of working at different festivals on the East Coast, they have built many relationships.

The company organizes festivals by bringing together local vendors from New England. Now they aim to do that in a designated location in the city, which Soulier said will also bring business to other parts of the city.

“When this opportunity came up, we thought let’s bring a co-op to the city to bring businesses and vendors while still working other events in New England,” Soulier said. “It’s difficult for vendors to open up shop, so we would draw vendors to one spot and get a percent of the sales.”

“We would plan the event, take out the permits and invite vendors, and then gain revenue from food trucks,” Soulier added.

The last presentation was given by Tally Stix, which provides a digital scorekeeping service for business to business transactions with an app.

Founder Mark Walerysiak explained the app keeps track of all transactions a business makes while providing the business chances for growth.

Walerysiak explained that the merchant downloads the app, enters their information, adds backup accounts and then they are approved of a credit limit.

“Tally Stix keeps track of the sum of total business transaction,” Walerysiak said. “Merchants become a member and co-owners of Tally Stix. It gives businesses a greater chance to succeed.”

Ani Chaghatzbanian, economic development specialist at the Bristol Development Authority explained the task force is meeting on Wednesday, and the three grant winners should be chosen and notified by the end of the week.

Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, General Business, General News on Monday, 17 July 2017 21:58. Updated: Monday, 17 July 2017 22:00.