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7 agricultural entrepreneurs win startup funding

Staff Report //December 17, 2020//

7 agricultural entrepreneurs win startup funding

Staff Report //December 17, 2020//

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Seven burgeoning entrepreneurs from throughout South Carolina, including a Richland County farmer, have won a share of $30,000 in the third year of the S.C. Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship program.

ACRE, in partnership with Clemson Cooperative Extension, provides business management guidance and funding for agribusiness startups. This year’s class participated in online classes in October and November to learn how to develop a business plan and hone their marketing, finance and operational skills.

Sixteen participants pitched their business ideas this month, with seven receiving funding.

Advanced agribusiness entrepreneurs will compete for a share of $125,000 in spring 2021, according to a news release from the agriculture department.

“The future of agribusiness in South Carolina depends on new ideas,” S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers said in the release. “These entrepreneurs will use what they’ve learned in the ACRE Curriculum program to build successful businesses and develop new markets in food and agriculture.”

The 2020 winners include Greg Brown, who plans to begin growing ginger and turmeric for the restaurant market at his Hopkins-are Greenleaf Farm, which currently produces asparagus and other produce.

Other awardees are:

  • Sweetgrass Roots, a learning farm in Colleton County dedicated to preserving folk art crafts such as sweetgrass basketry. Entrepreneur Kisha Kinard will use ACRE funding for a storage structure.
  • Tom Knaust operates Queen & Comb, a Charleston County business where property owners pay a monthly fee to receive honeybee hives and share 50-50 in the honey harvest. Knaust will use funding for marketing.  
  • At Farmers Market Flavors in Union County, Elise Ashby sells vegetable ice cream in flavors such as blueberry okra and cauliflower butter pecan. She will use funding to help pay disadvantaged youth to work in her commercial kitchen.
  • Ginger Nichols grows aquaponic lettuces at Spartanburg County’s Naturally Fresh Farms and plans to add additional cold storage capabilities.
  • Brittany Arisniega and Brit Hessler play host to events, teach foraging classes and sell merchandise and produce at Lover Farms in Pickens County. They will use the funding as seed money.
  • Elaine Ryan will hire a vineyard consultant at Paulownia Vineyards in Spartanburg County, where she is planting Bordeaux-style wine grapes.