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Agriculture

Agricultural innovation program now accepting applications

Agriculture
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A program aimed at helping agribusiness innovators procure funding and mentoring services is accepting applications through the end of next month.

The Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship, an initiative of the S.C. Department of Agriculture now in its fifth year, has awarded nearly $680,000 to 58 startups, according to a news release from the agricultural department. Eighty-six businesses have received training, while 1,100 S.C. residents have participated in workshops.

Selected applications will pitch their business idea to a panel of judges in June for a chance to win up to $25,000.

“We’re looking forward to another year of discovering what innovative agribusinesses exist within our state – and helping support them,” Kyle Player, ACRE executive director, said in the release. 

Previous ACRE award winners include Milky Way Farm in Starr, which received funding that helped purchase a second robotic milking system and increase milk sales. Twin Creeks Lavender Farm in Williamston purchased a barn that doubles as a retail shop and drying area.

ACRE also partnered with Project Victory Gardens to host a two-day Boots to Agribiz workshop for servicemen and women transitioning out of the military and into agriculture.

The Advanced Entrepreneurship application requires a business plan and a ready-to-launch prototype or sales history for the applicant’s company or product. Businesses must be located in South Carolina. The application also includes a detailed guide to what ACRE is looking for in a business plan.

ACRE has a separate program each fall for beginning innovators who have an agribusiness idea but don’t have experience in business.

Applications will be accepted through April 29 and are available online at acre-sc.com/programs. For more information, contact Player at 803-734-2324 or kplayer@scda.sc.gov.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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