An outdoor enthusiast, Judy Goodman would often prepare her own nutritious, high-energy trail bars for her outdoor excursions. In 2014, she launched a business making and selling artisan chocolate energy bars in Joseph in northeastern Oregon, a rural town rich with outdoor recreation opportunities. Judy had immediate success, doubling her sales in just one year. However, when she tried to take out a loan for additional equipment and marketing, she discovered her local bank would not lend to a start-up business.
Judy then learned about a new state law authorizing community public offerings, which enables Oregon-based businesses to raise capital from all Oregon residents through securities crowdfunding. The nonprofit Hatch Innovation, with assistance from a Rural Business Development Grant provided by USDA Rural Development, was just launching an InvestOR Ready Accelerator course in the neighboring town of Enterprise to help small business owners navigate this new financial resource. Judy became the first participant to enroll.
The 10-week course gave Judy the tools and resources to improve her business plan, product, and long-term goals. She received mentoring and gained access to the expertise of lawyers and marketing professionals.
“The bottom line,” said Judy, “is that Hatch provided me with the expertise necessary to write a prospectus and make a public offering, as well as to create a credible business profile that I could start to build a reputation and recognition upon.”
Judy launched her community public offering in 2016 and successfully raised $20,000 in investments. Today, BGood Bars is a thriving small business with robust marketing materials and product placement in stores throughout the region. Meanwhile, Hatch is providing additional training and opened an entrepreneurial center, using its USDA grant to support the startup and growth of more locally-owned businesses in this remote area of the state.