ATHENS – It’s not too late for University of Georgia students to turn their novel ideas into a chance for a grand prize of $ 10,000.
The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Food and AgriBusiness Entrepreneurial Initiative (FABricate) is accepting proposals until February 20th. Preliminary talks will be held on March 17th and finalists will be invited to virtually present their ideas to a group of judges on March 24th.
The categories of the competition include new food, agro technology, agriculture or food business, and environmental or sustainable businesses. This is the fifth year that CAES has organized the entrepreneurship competition.
FABricate is hosted by CAES but is open to UGA students from all backgrounds and colleges in the university, including PhD students. Individuals or teams of up to five people can participate.
Past winners have come up with a whole range of ideas and products: an alcohol percentage detector for kombucha, a food supplement for coffee, vegan cupcakes and an irrigation sensor. Some previous winners continued their business after graduation, while others translated the profit into other opportunities.
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“The real value of FABricate isn’t the cash award – although that’s nice – it’s the experience of working through a start-up and having access to resources to help you through the process,” said Chris Rhodes, Partnerships and Industry Director project-based learning at CAES who manages the program. “If you want your passion to be your job, this is the perfect program to get you started. Even if running business is not your goal, the experience you gain by competing will give you a head start in any job you accept. “
Keith Kelly, a CAES alumnus, longtime entrepreneur and owner of Morgan County’s Farmview Market, and his wife Pam have supported the program since its inception in 2017.
“I continue to support FABricate because it provides such a wealth of experience for students,” said Kelly. “I’ve hired a few FABricate graduates and teamed up with two others. They are real leaders in my organization and in the Georgian business community. “
Josh Paine is a Marketing Specialist at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.