Udderly Ridiculous: A Daring Dairy
Most people would find it totally overwhelming to start a new business when they already have 1400 goats, a guard llama, over 600 acres, and four sons to keep track of. Luckily for the ice cream lovers of this world, Cheryl and Greg Haskett are not most people.
A few years ago, when this married couple was setting goals for their goat dairy farm, they decided it would be a good time to turn Cheryl’s ice-cream-making hobby into a whole new company. The idea became Udderly Ridiculous.
Greg and Cheryl are both passionate about good farming and good food, making connections with people and making people happy. Making ice cream from their own goats’ milk, using locally- and sustainably-sourced ingredients, was the perfect new challenge.
Cheryl was chatting about the company with a friend who worked at the University of Guelph, and mentioned that they’d appreciate a little more direction and structure. That friend suggested that Cheryl and Greg apply to the Hub.
The Hub is the University of Guelph’s startup incubator. It runs through the Centre for Business and Student Enterprise (CBaSE), offering new businesses up to $7500 in funding, office and meeting space, exposure to topics like accounting and marketing, and mentorship from expert entrepreneurs.
The Hasketts are both familiar with business principles – Cheryl is a Vice-President with a corporate training and leadership company, while Greg has run his family farm since graduating from the Ontario Agricultural College. The Hub still had plenty to offer them by providing structure and networking opportunities.
Accelerating the business
The Hasketts have lots of demands on their time and energy, and the Hub’s guidance helped them concentrate and develop their business strategy. Meetings with mentors also gave them a devoted time and space to bounce ideas around and get feedback in real time. Without the Hub’s support Udderly Ridiculous might have fallen by the wayside. Now, Greg and Cheryl look forward to getting their ice cream on the market in time for the Victoria Day weekend in 2019.
Hub mentors also provided valuable network connections. Greg and Cheryl needed to learn about the food industry and the Hub has made sure they meet plenty of experienced, knowledgeable food industry professionals. An introduction can be a powerful thing, and the Hub provides as many as possible.
Good food and good deeds
Increasing the amount of ice cream in the world is an admirable goal, but Greg and Cheryl are looking beyond their product too. They want to make a larger impact. For one, they’re excited to expose more Canadians to goat dairy products. Goat milk is some of the most consumed in the world, but goat products are fairly new to the Canadian market. Udderly Ridiculous is excited to bring Canadians a more diverse and sustainable diet.
Udderly Ridiculous will also support small goat farms in Canada by expanding the market for their milk. Furthermore, Cheryl and Greg will concentrate on local farms whenever possible when they purchase ice cream flavourings like fruit and florals..
Finally, they’re going to take the impact national and global. Goats are an amazing resource for impoverished people around the world so Udderly Ridiculous will set people up with a goat of their own overseas. They’ll also help disadvantaged Canadian communities set up goat raising operations, providing jobs, skills, and income. The more ice cream we eat, the more they can do to help others. It’s a pretty sweet deal, and not at all ridiculous.
Do you have an idea for a business that will change lives and improve life? Bring it to the Hub and make it a reality. If you’re interested in applying to the Hub, visit the CBaSE website to learn more about the application process, or talk to John Lam, CBaSE’s Business Incubator Services Manager. Your vision can come to life at the Hub