Rural entrepreneurs can compete for $145,000 in start-up funds in the American Farm Bureau’s 2016 Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge, which was launched last week. Applications will be accepted June 1 through June 30.
The challenge, now in its second year, provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations being cultivated in rural regions of the United States. It is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses.
Iowa’s Scout Pro, which developed a mobile app to identify weed and pest challenges, won the 2015 Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge.
"The inaugural challenge successfully identified rural entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, proving that great business ideas can germinate anywhere," said American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob Stallman. "We’re excited to see the new crop of ideas our members will bring to the table this year."
Competitors must have an idea for a business that is directly related to or provides support services to food and agriculture.
Again this year, competitors must be based in a rural community as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, meaning their primary residences or businesses must be located in a county with less than 50,000 residents or a town with less than 2,500 residents.
The competition timeline, detailed eligibility guidelines, a preview of the online application and profiles of the 2015 finalist teams are available at www.strongruralamerica.com/challenge.
The top 10 teams will be announced Oct. 15, and four finalist teams will compete in a live competition at AFBF’s 97th annual convention in Orlando, Florida, in January 2016.