The Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship is accepting applications for its third annual program providing guidance and a chance to win a share of $25,000 to agribusiness innovators.
The six-session ACRE program, in partnership with Clemson Cooperative Extension, offers an overview of business management including pre-planning, marketing, pricing, production, profitability and financial statements. Participants will also have a chance to pitch their business plans to a panel of judges, who will award up to $5,000 per plan (a total of $25,000 in awards).
“Over the past three years, our ACRE program has helped dozens of entrepreneurs take their agribusinesses to the next level, boosting innovation and showing the ingenuity of South Carolina agribusiness,” S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers said in a news release.
Program applications, due Sept. 28, are available online at acre-sc.com. Applicants must be S.C. residents with an agribusiness idea or prototype.
“The ACRE curriculum program introduces business planning processes and management skills for starting a successful agribusiness,” said Nathan Smith, Clemson Extension economist and agribusiness program team leader.
Individuals selected for the curriculum program must attend virtual class sessions on Oct. 6, Oct. 13, Oct. 20, Nov. 3 and Nov. 10. The virtual pitch day is Dec. 8. All classes will be taught by Clemson’s agribusiness program team.
“This program is well worth the time and it has directly led to impressive growth for our business and helped us establish some very meaningful relationships in the agribusiness industry,” said Ben Crawford, co-owner of Woodland Valley Mushrooms, who completed the curriculum with business partner Rebecca Goldberg in 2019. “Not only were we awarded a grant through the curriculum program, but the knowledge we gained there later led to us being awarded a $30,000 ACRE entrepreneurship grant.”
Newberry farm Carolina Pride Pastures, which sells wool from its alpacas and llamas, was a 2018 ACRE participant.