ACRE Advanced Program Now Seeking Pitches
COLUMBIA — The Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship (ACRE) at the South Carolina Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the 2024 Advanced Entrepreneurship program through March 8.
South Carolina entrepreneurs selected for the program will have the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges, competing to earn business mentoring and funding for their agribusiness. The awardees will be granted up to $25,000 for their company or product.
ACRE has awarded more than $1 million to 100 agricultural entrepreneurs, funded several industry-driven research projects, and led dozens of business workshops throughout the state, in the seven years since it was founded.
“Each year, ACRE continues to uncover new entrepreneurial talent in the world of South Carolina agribusiness – a testament to our state’s talent, drive and vision,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. “I look forward to seeing a new group of competitive folks step up to the plate in 2024.”
Previous successful awardees have included female-owned vegetable grower Crescent Farm in Laurens County, which used ACRE funding to expand production; regenerative agriculture-based duck producer Vital Mission Farm in Wadmalaw Island; Milky Way Farm in Starr, which bought a second robotic milking system; and Project Victory Gardens, which leads workshops to help veterans transition to careers in agribusiness.
The Advanced Entrepreneurship application requires a business plan and a ready-to-launch prototype or sales history for the applicant’s company or product. Applicants’ 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.