The Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge is a national business competition for U.S. startups that are developing innovative solutions to address challenges facing America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities. Farm Bureau will award $145,000 in startup funds to ten businesses. Entries are due July 31.
Now in their seventh year, the American Farm Bureau Federation in partnership with Farm Credit, are looking to identify the top entrepreneurs who are addressing both traditional challenges farmers face on their operation, such as access to labor, optimizing yield and reducing operating costs, to entrepreneurs who are addressing new challenges facing farmers and rural communities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Farm Bureau is accepting applications through midnight Eastern Daylight Time on July 31, 2020. Farm Bureau and the Farm Credit Rural Investment and Innovation Workgroup will select ten startup businesses to compete at the AFBF Annual Convention in January 2021 as Semi-Finalists. These ten businesses will be announced on October 5th and awarded $7,500 each.
Farm Bureau has partnered with Cornell University’s Center for Regional and Economic Advancement to provide pitch training and mentorship for the ten semi-finalist businesses with faculty from Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics & Management.
Ten semi-finalist businesses will compete in two rounds of competition at the 2021 AFBF Annual Convention. Farm Bureau will cover transportation expenses and hotel accommodations for two members of each semi-finalist team to attend and compete in San Diego. In the first round, teams will have five minutes to pitch their business to a panel of industry judges in front of an audience of Farm Bureau and industry leaders, and venture capital representatives from USDA Rural Business Investment Companies. In this round, teams can use a presentation to support their pitch and will receive feedback from the judges.
Four finalist teams will advance to compete on stage in the final, live-streamed competitive event in front of industry representatives, investors and Farm Bureau members. Each team will have three minutes to pitch their business to a panel of industry judges.
The four finalist teams will compete to be the People’s Choice Award winner (by public vote) for a total of $20,000 and to be the 2021 Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year to win a total of $50,000. The Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year and the People’s Choice Award winner will be announced at AFBF Annual Convention Closing General Session on January 11th, 2021.
While attending the AFBF Annual Convention, the ten teams will have the opportunity to promote their businesses and network with industry leaders, venture capitalists, Rural Business Investment Companies, ag incubator program leaders, entrepreneurs and university researchers.
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