Anne Bachmann began her college career focusing on volleyball while attending the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Getting up at 5 a.m. to workout, train and practice with teammates led her to eat numerous bowls of oatmeal throughout the day. Eventually, the oatmeal took on a life of its own when Bachmann thought of creating a new business she eventually named Helping Oats.
She moved back to her hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska and enrolled at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where her entrepreneurial venture continues to grow. In January, she represents Nebraska at Pipeline’s The Innovators Conference in Kansas City. Pipeline is a fellowship of high-performing entrepreneurs from throughout the Midwest where Bachmann will share her story.
“I liked to eat oatmeal with peanut butter on top,” said Bachmann. “One day it hit me no one was selling a variety of different oatmeals. I started getting more into oatmeal and less into volleyball. I did research, talked to professors and told them I wanted to start a business selling oatmeal.”
At Nebraska, she majored in management with a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. She connected with The Center for Entrepreneurship at CBA and quickly found herself learning all the things she needed to advance her business plan for making Helping Oats a reality. This spring, she won $25,000 for Helping Oats at Nebraska’s Entrepreneuring Days business plan competition.
“After winning the money, I got all my legal work, processes, branding and social media done in a month. I moved fast because I wanted to launch for the Haymarket Farmers’ Market,” she said.
Initially Bachmann met some resistance about getting into the farmers’ market. She used her sales and negotiation skills to prove the worth of her business.
“I banged on doors and when they said they had not done anything like it before, I showed them how they could. I went there three times a week to get them to negotiate with me,” she said.
She worked the farmers’ market all summer and then started expanding. She began by catering and serving her oatmeal at The Bay, a multipurpose venue aimed at young people wanting to make a positive impact in the community. More recently, she began brainstorming a new innovation in oatmeal.
“I saw an opportunity available to package oatmeal, so I’m pivoting to that now,” said Bachmann. “I am working on product development, redoing the business plan and getting a prototype done.”
She believes her branding helps her product stand out, and her adaptability keeps pushing her forward – ultimately, getting her into events like the Pipeline conference.
“People see I was willing to change. Investors like the willingness of someone to go in new directions. I changed my mind set from, ‘This is my baby,’ to ‘This is a business and I’m going to do what it takes to make it successful,’” she said.
Helping Oats Facebook Page