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Ag Business Springboard Competition Winners

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First-place team: Baobob Processor PSU L–R: Alyssa Joslin, Leigh Lesnick, Imran Hussain, Matt Zellers and Tyler Yost.

PHOTO: STEVE WILLIAMS

Three student teams were recently selected and awarded $7,000 in a business plan competition held by the college.

Eighteen teams, composed mostly of Ag Sciences students, enrolled in the contest, named Ag Business Springboard 2011. The first-place team, Baobob Processor PSU, received a $5,000 check for their plan to develop a business with affordable means to process baobab plants into flour and nutrient-rich oil.

Two teams tied for second place, each receiving a check for $1,000. The BioSpin Fiber Technology team wrote a business plan that would develop a biological nanofiber fabric from simple starch, and The True Vine Farms team’s plan was to create a nonprofit organization that would facilitate on-farm experiences for children in distressed home environments.

The three winning teams are also entitled to receive an introduction to the “Lion Launchpad” for startup companies, having access to mentoring and networking resources within the University’s entrepreneurial community.

The Ag Business Springboard Competition was open to all Penn State students. Teams registered in mid-September and consisted of two to five students, one of whom was required to be enrolled in the College of Agricultural Sciences. The business plans were varied and innovative, addressing needs in food security, renewable energy, and agricultural employee health.

The Ag Business Springboard Competition is made possible through the generous support of Earl and Kay Harbaugh.