State agribusinesses entrepreneurs can once again apply to receive funding and mentoring through the S.C. Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship program.
Applications for ACRE’s 2021 advanced entrepreneurship program are being accepted through May 3. Selected applicants will pitch their business models to a panel of judges in June as part of a competition for up to $25,000.
“We’re looking to find these small businesses that aren’t traditional and help them a little bit,” Kyle Player, ACRE’s executive director, said in a news release.
Now in its third year, ACRE has awarded nearly $500,000 to 35 entrepreneurs, helped those entrepreneurs secure more than $1 million in grant funding, and provided training to 60 businesses, according to the release.
Applicants must be S.C. residents with a business plan and a product prototype or sales history. ACRE has a separate program each fall for burgeoning innovators with an agribusiness idea but no business experience.
Past advanced entrepreneurship winners include Barrier Island Oyster Co., now selling its hand-raised farmed oysters at Whole Foods, and Covered In Cotton, a family company that grows cotton to make woven blankets and was named the overall winner of Garden & Gun magazine’s Made In the South Awards last year. Heron Farms, which grows salt-tolerant sea beans, is in production and growing rapidly, while family-owned dairy Nance Farm used ACRE funding to build a creamery.