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COLLEGE STATION –Texas Farm Credit will sponsor the annual Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program symposium, a signature event of the Texas A&M University department of agricultural economics, according to program coordinators.
The agribusiness entrepreneurship program at Texas A&M teaches students business startup principles and conceptual planning. Many of the program’s graduates have launched businesses based on plans developed while completing Agricultural Economics 424 and 425 coursework.
Texas Farm Credit’s sponsorship is part of its Passion Forward program, which aims to donate 2 percent of its net income to the communities it serves.
“We are committed to helping Texas A&M’s entrepreneurship program continue its path of excellence and solidify it as the premier instructor of entrepreneurial education throughout Texas and the nation,” said Mark Miller, Texas Farm Credit CEO.
“We are appreciative of Texas Farm Credit’s commitment to assuring the rural entrepreneurship program continues to generate innovative, highly skilled students who are ready to launch new business ventures and spark innovation in the workforce,” said Dr. Patrick Stover, vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M and director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
Students in the program come from majors in both the College of Agriculture and Life and Sciences and from other colleges across campus. Each student has the opportunity to investigate either a rural or metropolitan business of their own choosing, from either a start-up or continuing business perspective.
Students who have completed Agricultural Economics 424 and 425 courses pitch their business plans during the two-day symposium to approximately 200 professionals for review and analysis, as well as connect with potential venture capital opportunities. Students meet venture capitalists, CEOs, presidents, vice-presidents and founders of financial and lending institutions, small- and large corporations spanning several industry sectors.
Texas Farm Credit’s gift will be used to attract lauded entrepreneurs and business people as speakers to the two-day Entrepreneurial Dreams Symposium and to serve as mentors at this signature event of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The funds will allow for building upon and enhancing the event as the culmination of a year of study by Texas A&M students nearing graduation and the potential start-up of business ventures in their communities, according to program coordinators.
The fall 2018 enrollment in AGEC 424, the prerequisite for AGEC 425, peaked with more than 180 students, said Dr. Ed Rister, Rural Entrepreneurship Chair and associate department head.
“This is double the enrollment since 2010, when the class had 90 students,” Rister said. “The AGEC 425 enrollment consists of those students who are focused on launching their own businesses or on learning the process to help in their chosen professional careers.”
Currently, there are 114 individual undergraduate students who are specifically registered as pursuing the rural entrepreneurship option and/or the agribusiness entrepreneurship minor. Students enrolled in these entrepreneurial courses gain a comprehensive knowledge of not only conducting financial and economic analysis, but also of the applied experience for sourcing relevant data needed to create business plans, to create financial statements, and to establish the beginning of an extensive mentoring network.
“Throughout the academic year as required to complete AGEC 424 and AGEC 425, the Agribusiness Entrepreneurship graduates develop an internal confidence in their capabilities to understand and articulate their business ventures,” Rister said. “Their skill set as business and credit analysts equips them to launch new businesses or to enter the workforce as honed professionals. On behalf of the students who spend nine months preparing their business plans and pitches, I want to express our appreciation to Texas Farm Credit for investing in the Entrepreneurial Dreams Symposium for the next five years and for enriching our students’ potential to become entrepreneurs and business leaders.”
The 2019 Texas Farm Credit Entrepreneurial Dreams Symposium is scheduled for April 30 – May 1, 2019, at the Thomas G. Hildebrand DVM ’56 Equine Complex at Texas A&M University. Additional information will be posted at http://agecon.tamu.edu/entrepreneurship/symposium/ .