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Applicants sought for agribusiness entrepreneurship program

Agriculture
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The Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship, an initiative of the S.C. Department of Agriculture, is looking for entrepreneurs to participate in a new program.

The Acre Entrepreneurship Center program, which provides mentoring, funding and access to investors for business owners ready to take their product to market, is open to S.C. residents who have an agribusiness company or product related to one or more of the following categories:

  • Specialty crops (fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, nursery crops)
  • Protein
  • Other foods (honey, cheese, milk, eggs, etc.)
  • Row crops
  • Aquaculture
  • Timber
  • Mechanical harvesting
  • Agribusiness technology
     

“We’re seeking the most innovative and forward thinkers in South Carolina agribusiness,” Acre Executive Director Jack Shuler said in a news release. “The entrepreneurship program will help position companies and products in the marketplace through collaboration, networking and funding.”

Applications, which require a business plan and a prototype or sales history, are due April 16 and are available online. Selected participants could receive up to $25,000 and access to a network of mentors, grant writing consultants and investors.

Agribusiness has an annual economic impact of $42 billion on the state, the Agriculture Department said. The department aims to increase that to $50 billion by 2020.

“Ultimately, the Acre Entrepreneurship Center is about South Carolina’s economic prosperity, and specifically growing the economic impact of the state’s largest industry — agribusiness,” S.C. Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said. “Acre will link farming, agribusiness, research and entrepreneurship and will help us achieve our 50 by 20 goal.”

Acre will add a second entrepreneurship program track, offering business and marketing plan development, later this year for entrepreneurs who have an innovative agribusiness idea but don’t have experience in business.

For more information on the entrepreneurship center and other Acre initiatives, contact Kyle Player, Acre project coordinator, at 803-734-2324 or via email.

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