As it did in so many cases, the COVID pandemic magnified a problem that was waiting to be addressed, particularly in the realm of food deserts.
Born and raised in Louisville’s West End, TaMeka Bland is an entrepreneur who has begun a venture that will service the community she loves. LimitLess is a tech-based delivery app that brings fresh fruits and fresh vegetables to the West End in Louisville.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Bland: I’m a 20-year hairstylist who went from the beauty industry to tech. I’m a serial entrepreneur—my husband and I have owned a salon, a retail store, just to name a few.
Why has your focus been in the West End?
Bland: I grew up in the West End, in poverty. When I was growing up, I noticed some of the problems facing this end of town. Being young, I couldn’t really do anything to change what I saw, but as I grew older, I felt the need to help my community in some capacity.
How did that pivot take shape?
Bland: It happened during the pandemic. I’m self-employed so there were a couple of months where we didn’t have any income. We were just trying to figure out how we were going to survive if the situation continued. I started to notice that a lot of businesses don’t deliver down here. Some drivers wouldn’t go west of 9th street. If they did, they would cut deliveries off at 5 p.m. DoorDash wasn’t available to us after five or at all. And there weren’t a lot of businesses in West Louisville that could provide produce and other groceries to residents. That’s how Limitless was born. It’s a tech-based delivery service that connects consumers with fresh produce, groceries, restaurants and more.
How did you create the app?
Bland: After doing tons of research and getting proposals from different development companies, I found a developer who would create the app for us. Development started in August of 2020. We got the bugs fixed by June of last year. The app will be launching March 28 at a ceremony at 1300 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd from 6pm to 8pm.
What will the app do?
Bland: It will allow us to deliver fresh produce to a food desert. We have a few relationships with farmers so we’ll be able to get produce and groceries from different stores. We also have several restaurants on board, including some that are located in Nulu. We do a 10-mile radius. I’m extremely excited about where it’s at and where it’s going.
Are the drivers employed by you?
Bland: Yes, we have a customer app and a driver app. Sixty drivers have already downloaded the app. It’s a three-sided marketplace. The customer orders, the restaurant prepares the package, and the driver delivers it. And because we service a smaller area right now, we are guaranteeing a 30-minute delivery.
How do the different apps work together?
Bland: Our company has created a Stripe account. The driver creates a Stripe account and the business creates a Stripe account. So once it’s all reconciled, the money just splits in the direction that it’s supposed to go to. So drivers get paid for their services the same day, depending on the time or the following business day.
You had some great local help in your journey to create this app.
Bland: I was in the 2021 cohort of the Russell Technology Business Incubator (RTBI), which was founded by Dave Christopher. RTBI provides every possible tool or resource you could need to run your business. I considered myself an entrepreneur already but there were so many things that I learned there.
You also participated in a pitch programs and a competition?
Bland: I won first place in the pitch competition at RTBI in 2021. I earned a certificate through Bellarmine’s Women of Color Entrepreneurs – Leadership program in which they offered a pitch competition. I participated in a competition with Black Girl Ventures in Cincinnati. While there, I practiced my pitch and had a lot different people commenting and suggesting and recommending. I won third place competing with women across the nation.
The courses, the coaching, the network, and the resources is really big for me. That additional education helped me to become a better businesswoman and I’m able to help other people with the things that I’ve learned. I am where I’m supposed to be.