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Entrepreneurial competition accepting proposals for $10,000 prize

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It’s not too late for University of Georgia students to turn their novel ideas into a chance at a grand prize of $10,000.

The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Food and AgriBusiness Entrepreneurial Initiative (FABricate) is accepting proposals through Feb. 20. Preliminary interviews will be conducted March 17, and finalists will be invited back to pitch their ideas virtually to a group of judges March 24.

Categories for the contest include new food products, agricultural technology, agriculture or food businesses, and environmental or sustainable businesses. This is the fifth year CAES has held the entrepreneurial competition.

FABricate is hosted by CAES but is open to UGA students from all backgrounds and colleges within the university, including graduate students. Individuals or teams of up to five can compete.

Past winners have run the gamut of ideas and products: an alcohol percentage detector for kombucha, a health supplement for coffee, vegan cupcakes and an irrigation sensor. Some previous winners have continued their businesses after graduation, and others have parlayed the win into other opportunities. 

“The real value of FABricate isn’t the cash prize — although that is nice — it is the experience of working through a start-up and getting access to resources to help you through the process,” said Chris Rhodes, director of industry partnerships and 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 an ongoing business isn’t your goal, the experience you get from the contest will give you a leg up in whatever job you take.”

Keith Kelly, a CAES alumnus who is a longtime entrepreneur and owner of Farmview Market in Morgan County, and his wife, Pam, have supported the program since its inception in 2017. 

“I continue to support FABricate because it gives students such a great wealth of experience. I have hired a couple of FABricate grads and have partnered with two others. They are real leaders in my organization and in Georgia’s entrepreneurial community,” Kelly said.

For more information about the program, including proposal tips, visit caes.uga.edu/fabricate.

Josh Paine is a marketing specialist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
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