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Candace Tierney’s original ideas and entrepreneurial spirit are what sets her apart from the rest. This is why she was one of the 2015 Startup Garage funding recipients. Her pitch? Developing a frozen treat similar to ice cream but made from 100% Canadian oats.
Candace has always had a sweet spot for ice cream. However, being lactose intolerant and vegan raised some challenges for her and she realized that there were few options offered on the market for her to indulge in without dealing with the painful repercussions. She enjoys coconut-based ice cream but felt like every flavour was overpowered by the drupe’s robust taste. So with the help of the $20,000 provided by Startup Garage, an initiative facilitated by the Ontario Centres of Excellence through the Campus Linked Accelerator program, Candace did rigorous testing of her product and found her company now known under the name of Oat & Mill.
Candace completed her B.Com at the Telfer School of Management in 2010 and admits that it really helped her figure out what she wanted to do after graduation. “The uOttawa Telfer School of Management was incredibly resourceful, which as a student and entrepreneur is immensely important,” she says, “The undergraduate program is an excellent program to narrow in and identify which field or direction you want to pursue further in your career.” The knowledge that she has gained in school has made her realize her full potential.
Partly of what has made Candace successful was her will to never lose focus of what she is trying to accomplish, which is trying to keep her customers happy. “At Oat & Mill, we believe the best identifier of success in business is customer feedback and retention. Our goal is to always connect what matters to our customers back to the product and our direction moving forward,” she says. She says she really encourages customers to give her suggestions, which is why Oat & Mill now have over 25 flavours to offer.
When asked what best piece of advice she has to offer to students, Candace says to embrace your individuality and to stay open minded: “There are opportunities everywhere, don’t assume the path other students are taking is the only way. If you remain open minded you are more likely to find an area where you will not only succeed but also have impact.” She is another example of an entrepreneur that finds a solution to an existing gap in the market.
The Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) provides students a complete business education: academic excellence, a rewarding student life, and distinctive personal and career development opportunities.
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