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June 09, 2020 | Tom Ballard

This summer’s AgLaunch bootcamp goes virtual, draws from three entrepreneur centers

In another bow to COVID-19, Memphis-based AgLaunch and three of Launch Tennessee’s entrepreneur centers are teaming-up to offer a five-week virtual bootcamp to develop promising agriculture and food-focused start-ups.

For the past several years, AgLaunch and the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC) have partnered on the summer-time effort that has also involved one or two teams, if my memory is correct, that came out of The Biz Foundry on the Cumberland Plateau. The newest member of the Launch Tennessee network – Kingsport-based Sync Space – is joining the effort this year.

Applications are being accepted until 12 midnight EDT on June 21 at this link. In its announcement, the AgLaunch team said that eligible teams do not have to be located in Tennessee.

“Companies from across the globe that provide competitive advantages or new market opportunities for row crops, vegetable and specialty crops, livestock, and value-added production in food and beverage and are interested in partnering with farmers and businesses in Tennessee based on the unique nature of Tennessee’s agriculture sector are encouraged to apply,” according to the announcement.

Regardless of base of operations, those considering applying should be innovators who are interested in growing their agricultural and food start-ups and working directly with farmers or local food businesses.

The bootcamp will be held in half-day sessions from 2 to 5 p.m. EDT on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting July 7 and ending August 6. Teams accepted into the program will experience best-in-class agricultural entrepreneurship programming with engagement from members of the AgLaunch Farmer Network, as well as a national network of investors and mentors.

“We are excited to be partnering with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center for the fifth year and new partners Sync Space and Biz Foundry to help develop potential start-ups,” Pete Nelson, Executive Director of AgLaunch, said. “We’re hoping that this bootcamp will give participating teams the opportunity to gain the resources and support they need to be successful in the agriculture industry, particularly for our farmers in Tennessee.”

Those selected for the five-week accelerator will receive agricultural entrepreneurship programming through AgLaunch connected with business expertise from KEC, Sync Space and Biz Foundry on agricultural markets, investors and mentorship; the framework for organizing, validating and communicating their ideas; and the opportunity to perfect their pitch. Teams will also gain consideration for Innova venture funding and participation in the AgLaunch365 program.

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