Ag Springboard each year awards $7,500 to the student team with the best pitch for a new business or non-profit venture in the agricultural sciences. The runner-up team wins $2,500. Each team must include a student enrolled at the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Put your ideas for solutions and new ventures into ACTION! Polish your pitch for the Ag Springboard contest.

Put your ideas for solutions and new ventures into ACTION! Polish your pitch for the Ag Springboard contest.

Ag Springboard is a fun and challenging way to learn how to pitch your ideas — a valuable skill for any career path. And you might just start a company. Students have gone on to do just that after their Ag Springboard experience.

During Spring 2025 student teams will pitch an idea for a new business or non-profit, and compete to win a $7,500 grand prize and $2,500 second prize at Ag Springboard.

We can help match students to teams, and coach teams on their pitch. Teams must include a student from the College of Ag Sciences.

This is like TV's Shark Tank — but for College of Agricultural Sciences' students! Ag Springboard is a signature event of the college's Entrepreneurship & Innovation Program.

How Ag Springboard works

Teams register by Feb 15, 2025. (Email Dr. Mark Gagnon with questions or to register.)

Teams submit a short 8min video pitch on their concept by March 15, 2025, 5:00 p.m. EST.

Finalists will be notified by March 21, 2025.

Finalist teams will LIVE PITCH a panel of judges on April 2, 2025. Winners will be announced during the AG Springboard Banquet on April 2nd.

More details

See how the 2020 finalist teams pitched judges on Zoom (and the questions judges asked!) by watching the finalist day video event, on the Ag Springboard YouTube channel.

Ag Springboard is a business pitch competition open to all students at Penn State. Teams consisting of 2-5 students, at least one of whom must be a student enrolled in the College of Agricultural Sciences, are eligible to compete. Teams will develop and pitch an innovative business plan addressing a need in the field of food, agriculture, ecosystems or bio-products and energy.

Mark Gagnon, Harbaugh Entrepreneurship Scholar, explains:

In their business pitch, students must address issues such as competitive due diligence, marketing, financial projections and other aspects to make a compelling argument for their business idea.

Teams submit an 8-minute video pitch for the first round of the competition. Judges will select which teams will move forward to the final presentation stage which is a live pitch before a judging panel of experienced entrepreneurs.

The $7,500 grand prize winning team, and $2,500 second-place winner will be announced April 2, 2025, the finalist pitch day.

Top Reasons to Participate

  1. Explore entrepreneurship.
  2. Strengthen your resume -- employers seek students who have competitive "real world" experiences.
  3. The odds of winning are great to claim the $7,500 prize -- some contests have only 25 teams!
  4. Get great advice -- winners will have an opportunity to connect with potential investors, build their networks and obtain valuable guidance.
  5. Be recognized for your efforts and abilities -- build the winning team and experience success!
  6. Learn what it takes to pitch a business idea and develop these valuable career building skills while at Penn State.

Questions? Contact Dr. Mark Gagnon.

This event is sponsored by Dan and Wendy Azzara whose generous support will allow this competition to be an annual event.