USDA, TDA Announce Seed Funding to Ignite Agri-Tech Entrepreneurship

NASHVILLE — The next great business idea just may come from rural Tennessee. USDA Rural Development and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture today announced $220,000 in combined seed funding for a new initiative to help make Tennessee a hub of agri-tech innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Department of Agriculture will facilitate the program, known as AgLaunch. Led by Memphis Bioworks Foundation, the program will also include participation from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. AgLaunch is an ambitious effort to attract 200 entrepreneurs and establish 100 successful and investable agricultural-sector companies in Tennessee by 2020.

AgLaunch will seek to identify early stage agri-technologies and companies and assist them in building investable, high-growth enterprises through mentorship and programming. Bioworks is currently working with investors and seeking a total of $10 million in public and private funding over the next five years for the project. The goal is to initiate AgLaunch in 2016.

For the full release, visit the Tennessee Department of Agriculture website here.