ASU to Host Innovation Bootcamp for AgTech/Food Start Ups

NEWS RELEASE (May 20, 2019)
Applications Open for SBA Innovation Bootcamp for Food and AgTech Startups
Applications Due June 28
JONESBORO, Ark. (May 20, 2019) — AgLaunch is partnering with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture and Arkansas State University to host a week-long agri-tech bootcamp to support agriculture startup teams as part of its Small Business Administration’s Rural Innovation Cluster award.

The bootcamp will be held at A-State’s Delta Center for Economic Development from July 22-26, 2019. The top ten applicants will be accepted into the program and will experience best-in-class agricultural entrepreneurship programming and have access to investors, mentors, and farmers.

“We are excited to be partnering with AgLaunch and Arkansas State University to bring services and support to agtech startups in Arkansas and the Delta region. Building up companies that create opportunities for farmers is essential as the industry continues to adopt new technologies,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “We know innovation exists in the region, and we look forward to seeing results from this program.”

Eligible applicants should be focused on addressing real problems in agriculture within the crop and livestock sectors and all along the food value-chain. Teams can include:
– Small startup companies operating in the agricultural sector;
– Existing companies that are creating new innovations or product lines; and
– Student or faculty teams that are developing new innovations in agriculture.

“We know the Mid-South can be the best place in the United States to create the farms of the future and supply the products that consumers are demanding,” said Dr. Tim Burcham, Dean of Arkansas State University College of Agriculture. “Engaging with early-stage agtech companies allows us to grow the amazing food and agriculture opportunities in Arkansas and the region.”

This bootcamp complements existing AgLaunch programming through AgLaunch365 and the AgLaunch Farmer Network. The AgLaunch Farmer Network is a group of farmers from across the region who are testing new innovations and creating new marketing approaches. One of AgLaunch’s leading Farmer Network partners is Ritter Agribusiness, a 32,000-acre farm based in the eastern Arkansas town of Marked Tree that provides a diverse landscape on which tech startup companies can test their farm innovations in fields like precision agriculture, robotics, biologic-based pest control and supply chain integrity.

AgLaunch will be seeking to partner with other Arkansas farmers in the network. The Farmer Network is intentionally focused on recruiting a variety of farm sizes, crops and livestock. Members are eligible to participate in field-scale trials with collaborating agricultural startups.

Building on its current programming, AgLaunch recently received a Small Business Administration Regional Innovation Cluster Award, the first one focused on production agriculture and startups. Bootcamp programming and assistance will include farm tours and sessions focused on marketing, venture capital, working with land-grant universities, and field design and research. Teams will receive instruction from partners like A-State’s College of Agriculture, Agricenter International, Archer Malmo, Innova Memphis, and others.

Applications are being accepted through 5 pm CST on June 28, 2019. Entrepreneurs with an idea or an agtech startup who are interested in the intensive bootcamp can apply here. For more information, contact Schuyler Dalton at sdalton@aglaunch.com.

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About AgLaunch
AgLaunch is revolutionizing the way that innovations in agriculture and food are brought to market by bridging the present and future to grow a more diverse and sustainable farm economy and provide healthy food for all. AgLaunch leverages its distributed network of farm incubators, entrepreneurial farmers, aligned capital partners, research consortia, technical consulting, and best-in-class accelerator programming to effectively challenge the status quo and thoughtfully create value for farmers and the communities they serve. The AgLaunch vision is a transformed regional agriculture and food economy centered around farmers, innovation, and prosperity.

About Arkansas Agriculture Department
The AAD is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. 

About Arkansas State University College of Agriculture
Over the past 100 years, A-State has evolved from a regional school of agricultural instruction to a comprehensive university. The College of Agriculture has also evolved throughout the years. While education is still our primary mission, we also have extensive public outreach programming and research activities. We prepare our graduates for entry and career advancement in the food, fiber, and natural resources industry, which involves production (farming), agribusiness and value-added processing, public service and rural leadership; and for entry and advancement in the manufacturing and industrial technology industries. We offer both undergraduate and master’s degrees within the college, and we participate in doctoral education through the interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences and Molecular Biosciences programs.

About Delta Center for Economic Development
The Delta Center for Economic Development is the community and economic development outreach center for Arkansas State University. Along with its in-house partners, the A-State Innovation System, the Small Business Technology Development Center, Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions, and Communities Unlimited, the Delta Center helps communities in the Arkansas delta find their paths to prosperity by providing technical assistance, research, and training.
Media Contact:Rebecca Kaufman
rkaufman@aglaunch.com
501-766-7133
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