ISU's Ag Entrepreneurship Initiative Launches Program to Connect Businesses and Top Students

February 21st, 2012

AMES, Iowa — The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative at Iowa State University has created a program offering businesses access to exclusive workshops, strategic leadership roundtables and interaction with top College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students.

The Affiliates Program, launched in 2011, has a limited number of memberships available for companies and organizations. Applications are accepted at

"Membership in the Affiliates Program provides support for important work in agricultural entrepreneurship," said Larry Petersen, CEO and general manager of Heartland Co-op. "It supports our efforts in strategic innovation. For example, we're working on a strategic development project where a team of ISU students will support development of a business plan over the course of the summer."

Affiliate memberships are based on a three-year commitment of $10,000 annually. The support gained through affiliate memberships enables the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative to continue to provide College of Agriculture and Life Sciences undergraduates with educational programing and entrepreneurial experiences. To date, more than 1,300 undergraduates have participated in entrepreneurship and business development activities through the initiative.

"I've had a number of opportunities to interact with and learn from key industry professionals, especially affiliate members, through the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative" said Alicia Humphrey, sophomore in agricultural communications. "Being part of their business development projects has helped to broaden my knowledge base while preparing me for my future in the agricultural industry."

Director of the initiative Kevin Kimle, Rastetter Chair of Agricultural Entrepreneurship, says the Affiliates Program is a way to broaden the initiatives reach and engage more of the agriculture industry in entrepreneurship and innovation.

"Our view of entrepreneurship and innovation in agriculture is that it must take place across the full range of organizations in our industry, whether start-up companies or companies with a much longer history. Our aim is to create a constructive ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship across agriculture."

The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative at Iowa State was established in 2005. The initiative works to broaden understanding of entrepreneurship among faculty and students of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State by providing educational experiences to develop students' entrepreneurial skills and increase interaction among students, faculty and agricultural entrepreneurs.



Stacey Noe, Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative, (515) 294-4945,

Kevin Kimle, Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative, (515) 294-1803,

Melea Reicks Licht, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications, (515) 294-8892,