The first official program in the recently launched “Appalachian AgriFood Innovation Cluster,” coordinated by Memphis-based AgLaunch for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), has announced a new weeklong bootcamp to be held in mid-July in Knoxville.
Now referred to as the “AgLaunch Bootcamp for Food and AgTech Pioneers,” the program was first announced in November 2021 as one of five new SBA-funded “Regional Innovation Clusters” (see teknovation.biz article here) and described in more detail at a mid-March meeting in Knoxville (see teknovation.biz article here). It is described as a crash course in business fundamentals and training on innovation within the agriculture industry. The goal is to support early stage agriculture start-ups and prepare them for follow-on programming and resources offered by AgLaunch or AgLaunch partners. Applications close on May 31.
The programming is designed for new start-ups focused on agriculture, faculty/student teams commercializing ag-related technology, and existing agriculture companies exploring new innovation. While there is a preference for companies located within the Appalachian region, applicants from any location are welcome to apply. Any new and novel idea in the agriculture and food value chain will be considered, but AgLaunch and its partners that include the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, Sync.Space, and The Biz Foundry, are particularly interested in innovations involving: (1) specialty crops including new grains for beverage and food markets; (2) regenerative and organic agriculture and carbon markets; (3) new uses for forestry products; (4) pasture raised cattle; (5) local value-added products; (6) farm-to-market with novel technologies; (7) bioenergy; (8) controlled environment agriculture; (9) data and traceability; and (10) climate resiliency.
Other bootcamp sponsors include InvestSWVA, the South Carolina Research Authority, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, University of Tennessee Research Foundation, Tennessee Tech University, National Black Growers Council, and North Carolina Biotech Center.
To apply, click here.