ScoutPro, Inc., a Lone Tree, Iowa-based agricultural technology startup, was named the inaugural Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative (REI) Challenge winner during the American Farm Bureau (AFBF) Annual Convention this week. ScoutPro, Inc., was selected from a field of more than 200 applicants to compete with three other contestants during the first-ever REI Challenge. The four finalists competed for the award by pitching their business ideas to a team of judges and in front of a live audience.
“Although it is tough to leave San Diego in January, we are excited to return to Iowa and invest our prize money toward programming resources and new sales staff as we continue with our efforts to grow and build our company,” says ScoutPro, Inc., co-founder, Stuart McCulloh. “The support and encouragement from the Iowa Farm Bureau has been tremendous, and we can’t thank them enough for their role to help take ScoutPro to the next level.”
The ScoutPro app is a tool that puts the power of pest and weed identification on easily-accessible iPads or mobile devices, providing today’s farmers and crop scouts an effective tool to identify and combat the threat of crop damage from weeds, insects, and other pests common to corn and soybean production. To learn more about the app, visit www.scoutpro.org.
Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa (RRIA) program, which has helped more than 2,500 Iowans successfully own and grow their businesses, mentored ScoutPro throughout the REI competition. For winning the event, ScoutPro, Inc., receives $15,000 in prize money to implement their business idea. In addition to the prize money earned this week, ScoutPro founders, Michael Koenig, Stuart McCulloh and Holden Nyhus won $15,000 in November for advancing to the final four of the national REI Challenge, netting the startup $30,000 to grow their rural Iowa business.
The app developers, who just graduated last year from Iowa State University, knew they had a great idea, but didn’t know how to turn that idea into a business. It all came together when a Farm Bureau Renew Rural Iowa (RRIA) presenter came to their entrepreneurship class. “The hands-on mentoring of IFBF’s Renew Rural Iowa program helped their dream get from the blackboard to investors’ boardrooms,” says Adam Koppes, IFBF investment manager.
To learn more about the RRIA program and the next seminar, ‘The Journey to Your Vision,’ on April 16, 2015 in Perry, visit www.renewruraliowa.com. “We know there are more great ideas out there in Iowa, and making them a reality is what we do,” says Koppes.
The Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is a key component of the REI, a joint effort between AFBF and the Georgetown McDonough School of Business. The REI is directly tied to AFBF’s mission of building strong and prosperous agricultural communities. The challenge provided more than 200 contestants an opportunity to compete for a total of $85,000 in prize money to implement their ideas.