Clements: In celebration of National Small Business Week, the American Farm Bureau Federation has opened the application process for AFBF’s Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. Entrepreneurs in the challenge will compete for $145,000 in startup funds. AFBF rural development director Lisa Benson says the competition provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations that benefit rural regions of the United States.
Benson: Our goal is to really help rural entrepreneurs scale up their business. So, the challenge helps connect those entrepreneurs to start up funds, to networking with venture capitalist, and also to get visibility for their businesses and for themselves on a national scale.
Clements: New to the challenge this year are best of show awards.
Benson: We have 10 awards we will be giving this year. The best four teams will each win $15,000 and be able to go on to our convention in January to compete for an additional $25,000. And then we have six best in show category winners. Each of those winners will win $10,000. Those categories are farm startup, agritourism, farm-to-table, ag-tech, craft beverage and local products.
Clements: AFBF has already received dozens of applications for the challenge. You can submit an application online.
Benson: To be involved in the challenge, I would first recommend to check out the eligibility requirements. You can find those by going to our website, strongruralamerica.com. There you can also get access to our online application, and the application involves a business plan, and then you also include a video pitch. So, that video pitch is a way you can talk about your business, and really sell your business to us.
Clements: Applications must be submitted by June 20 online at strongruralamerica.com. Micheal Clements, Washington.
Communications Assistant, AFBF