Grace Hansen, a senior horticulture major, was named a winner in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Center for Entrepreneurship 3-2-1 Quick Pitch competition on Nov. 3. Hansen works with horticulture professor Ellen Paparozzi, growing and distilling basil oil.
Hansen competed in the Quick Pitch competition in 2014 while enrolled in the Agribusiness Entrepreneurship course taught by horticulture associate professor of practice David Lambe, but did not win. Prompted by her desire to start her own business someday, and with advice from Lambe and Paparozzi, Hansen applied on her own this year. She wanted to see if others would be interested in her ideas. When she won, Hansen knew her future would include running her own business.
Hansen’s entrepreneurial business idea is to start Omaherbs, where she would grow and sell fresh herbs and herb oils in her hometown of Omaha. According to Hansen, Omaha restaurants are experiencing a farm-to-table movement which promotes serving locally grown food at local restaurants and schools.
Omaherbs would support the Buy Fresh Buy Local mission of encouraging the purchase and enjoyment of locally grown food by providing a large variety of fresh herbs to local restaurants. Restaurants buying locally reinvest back into the local economy and reduce their costs of packaging and shipping from a distance.
Buying locally also improves food quality as plants maintain denser nutrients and flavor compounds if eaten within three days of harvest.
In addition, Omaherbs would distill unsold and unsellable plants into essential oil.
The 3-2-1 Quick Pitch competition took place in the Memorial Stadium skyboxes. More than 70 competitors from Nebraska colleges and high schools showcased their entrepreneurial, communication and presentation skills through a three-minute, quick-pitch proposal for a new business venture to a panel of expert judges.
For more on the 3-2-1 Quick Pitch completion and a list of all winners, see http://bit.ly/2g0b10I.