The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and The Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) recently announced a partnership to help strengthen rural America. The multi-year collaboration will address solutions to building greater economic opportunity and security for those who live in rural communities, starting with a program involving the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative to advance rural entrepreneurship.
Chuck spoke with Ladan Manteghi, Executive Director of Global Social Enterprise Initiative at Georgetown University, about the collaboration.
“The purpose of the Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative is really to help provide resources to anyone who has an idea for a new business or who have a entrepreneurial spirit and be able to strengthen the economic security of rural America.”
“Farmers are considered the original entrepreneurs and we believe that is the case. But often times there are two components to this. Farmers have ideas beyond whats in the farm gate. We want to be able to provide the tools and resources necessary to bring those ideas to market. Second, there are a lot of people in rural America who aren’t farmers and want the opportunity to build economic security and financial opportunity and need these resources as well.”
Ladan also shared hopes for a future collaboration with USDA. During the AFBF Convention Sec. of Agriculture Vilsack said, “It creates a sense of entrepreneurship so that you have investors and entrepreneurs looking for opportunities to start businesses in rural areas. The program dovetails with what we are doing at USDA– trying to educate investment banks and investors about the opportunities to invest in rural opportunities.”
AFBF President Bob Stallman said, “Our partnership with Georgetown is dedicated to giving them and other leaders in rural communities nationwide both a forum and the practical means to brainstorm, strategize and bring their inspirations to fruition and, ultimately, strengthen their communities.”
Components of the program will include:
– Rural innovation challenge to provide an opportunity for rural entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and business ventures in a collegial, yet competitive environment, and to receive mentoring and recognition
– National summit on rural entrepreneurship that convenes thought leaders in rural economic development, public policy, and entrepreneurship to discuss barriers and solutions to increased business development in rural areas.
– An online rural innovation hub that highlights stories of rural entrepreneurs’ experiences, learning, and successes, and serves as a virtual meeting place for individuals to share information.
– Training workshops and webinars that give business tools and guidance in areas such as market research, concept and product development, pitch development and fundraising techniques, marketing, and more.
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Ladan here: Interview with Ladan Manteghi
2014 AFBF Convention Photos