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  • Ag Springboard


Dr. Gary Thompson, left, Associate Dean of Research, GreenBriq students Paul Hughes, Nicole Dato, Annaliese Long and Vatsal Agarwal, with E&I Director Drs. Dan Azzara, rear, and Mark Gagnon, Harbaugh Entrepreneurship Scholar, right. (Cameron Callanan)
April 8, 2019

GreenBriq is turning invasive plants into sustainable fuel for Kenyan households. Inakua, the second-place winner of $2,500, plans to rent water-efficient hydroponic growing towers to Kenyan families to reliably grow their own vegetables.

Ag Springboard Final Four Teams Compete Wednesday! Graphic design by student Cameron Callanan, a senior in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.
April 2, 2019

Four finalist teams in the Ag Springboard student pitch competition are pitching ventures to help solve food waste, cut fossil fuel emissions, combat invasive plant species and provide low-cost, water-wise food production. One will win the $7,500 grand prize to Make It Happen.

Tyler Smith, this year's Ag Springboard keynote speaker, played pro basketball around the world for 11 years after playing for an historic Penn State men's basketball team in 2001.
April 1, 2019

Tyler Smith, who played on Penn State's 2001 men's basketball team that advanced to the Sweet Sixteen round in the NCAA tournament, will speak about mental fitness for entrepreneurs as the keynote speaker for Ag Springboard. The "final four" Ag Springboard teams pitch live before judges in the finalist round Wednesday, followed by an evening awards banquet.

Hunter Swisher, 2016 Plant Sciences graduate, CEO and Founder, Phospholutions (left) and Dr. Mark Gagnon, Harbaugh Entrepreneurship Scholar and Entrepreneurship Coordinator.
February 11, 2019

Ag Springboard — a GREAT opportunity for students to learn how to pitch ideas and compete to win $7,500!!!

Animal-lover Megan McCunn pitched Sweet Dreams Pet Lodge and was an Ag Springboard 2017 finalist.
January 10, 2019

Ag Springboard experience helps students stand apart from the crowd. Win $7,500 to make your big dream happen.

Callie Rojewski explains how the entrepreneurial mindset helped her build a career out of work she loves.
October 15, 2018

Recent PSU grad Callie Rojewski — who started her first business as a student — tells her story at an Ag Springboard Open House Oct. 22, 5-6:30, 6 Armsby.

Bold Foods served crickets and pasta made with crickets at NYC markets during spring and summer 2018.
September 10, 2018

Treating judges to samples of pasta made with cricket powder helped Weslie Khoo and Haoshu Zhang’s team win the $7,500 grand prize at the Ag Springboard student business pitch contest in 2017.

August 30, 2018

Meet young entrepreneurs and get career prep advice at the fall 2018 Ag Springboard open houses. Join us Sept. 18, Oct. 22 and Nov. 13!

Food science graduate students Weslie Khoo and Haoshu Zhang promoted the health and sustainability benefits of crickets as an ingredient in pasta.
August 29, 2017

Penn State food science graduate students are creating a new pasta fortified with cricket flour. They talked up the advantages of eating crickets and their new Bold Foods brand with visitors to Ag Progress Days.

Ag Springboard keynote speaker Todd Erdley, founder and CEO of Videon in State College, inspires student entrepreneurs to be comfortable with the risk-fail-pivot process common to entrepreneurship during the Ag Springboard Awards Banquet Thursday, April 1
April 14, 2017

Risk. Fail. Pivot. Repeat. Todd Erdley, co-founder and CEO of Videon, advises student entrepreneurs.

Pasta 2050’s pitch for pasta made with cricket flour won first place and $7,500 Thursday April 13 in the Ag Springboard student business pitch contest. L to R: Dr. Mark Gagnon, Entrepreneurship Coordinator, Dean Richard Roush, College of Agricultural Scie
April 14, 2017

A team of food science graduate students won the Ag Springboard student business pitch contest and $7,500 grand prize Thursday after pitching and serving judges pasta made with cricket flour.

April 13, 2017

Hui Wang and Jiayi Wang plan to use edutainment videos on social media platforms native to China to help connect family farms with urban consumers

Todd Erdley is the keynote speaker for the Ag Springboard business pitch contest finale Thursday.
April 9, 2017

Todd Erdley, local technology entrepreneur and champion of economic growth, will speak Thursday during the awards banquet for the Ag Springboard student business pitch contest.

Luke Yost explains how the ModZero device allows a single scope to be used on multiple rifles, potentially saving time and money.
April 7, 2017

Five student teams will live-pitch their new business concepts to judges April 13, in hopes of winning $7,500 during the final round of the 2017 Ag Springboard competition.

March 28, 2017

One idea to build a vertical farming project led to an Ag Springboard team. Then a win. Then a company. GreenTowers' co-founders share how they unleashed their creativity and momentum.

Sami Beining, a biorenewable systems major, with the Warchest a military ammo can repurposed for tailgating. (Image: Cameron Hart)
February 22, 2017

Meet two agricultural sciences students pitching their idea to repurpose military ammo cans into tailgating gear.

Dr. Mark Gagnon is the Harbaugh Entrepreneurship Scholar and Entrepreneurship Coordinator. (Photo by Cameron Hart)
February 21, 2017

To grow, you must challenge yourself.

January 11, 2017

This spring, one student team will win $7,500 at Ag Springboard to help launch a great idea in the agricultural sciences.

November 10, 2016

To achieve tangible results, schedule time away from news feeds and text alerts.

Artist Sean Bodley draws coloring pages for kids with science superheroes who are people of color. (Photo by Cameron Hart)
November 3, 2016

Five doctoral candidates have formed a new educational product business to promote diversity within STEM

Team Phospholutions is pitching a solution to prevent runoff of phosphorus.
April 13, 2016

Hunter Swisher and Erin Knabe of Team Phospholutions plan to commercialize a buffering agent that holds phosphorus in the soil and prevents it from leaching from farm fields into waterways.

Ben Nason explains how colorful potato varieties make specialty chips.
April 13, 2016

Deanna Spaniel and Ben Nason's Team Blue & White Chips use Purple Majesty potatoes for naturally colorful chips marketed to Penn State fans.

Team Futo will pitch its new tofu product at the final round of Ag Springboard 2016.
April 13, 2016

Team Futo envisions a meat substitute product tastier than the tofu commonly available in the U.S. market, making it easier for vegetarians and dieters to achieve their goals and enjoy a meal.

Team Systemic Action wants to use comic books to promote STEAM — agriculture and STEM — sciences.
April 12, 2016

Team Systemic Action has created a diverse cast of comic book characters to combat the under-representation of women and minorities in the STEAM — agriculture and STEM — sciences and help teach science lessons to fourth to fifth-grade students.

Team Sorghum hopes to improve Americans' diets by adding disease-fighting compounds found in sorghum to cheese.
April 12, 2016

Team Sorghum Cheese envisions making cheese with a disease-fighting compound found in sorghum.

Team Red wants to recycle red plastic cups to add social responsibility to college social life
April 12, 2016

Team Red wants to make sustainability sexy by giving the red plastic cups used at frat parties new life as furniture, Frisbees and cornhole games.

Dylan Tischler of Team Red holds a Frisbee made of recycled red plastic cups. Team Red is among six finalist teams competing this week for the $7,500 top prize in the Ag Springboard business pitch contest.
April 11, 2016

Judges picked six teams to compete this week for the $7,500 top prize and $2,500 second prize in the final round of Ag Springboard

Dustin Betz, Ag Springboard 2012 winner and founder-president of Green Towers, shares tips on telling the financial story in your business pitch.
March 28, 2016

Some tips on how to tell your financial story in a business pitch for #AgSpringboard16.

Think through how your business will continue to make money, says Hunter Swisher, a senior plant science major and #AgSpringboard16 competitor.
March 23, 2016

How will your new business make money now and in the future? Think through all the points of your model, says Hunter Swisher, a senior plant science major competing in ‪#‎AgSpringboard16‬.

Torin Miller, ag sciences student and managing partner of Ruffed Outdoors, explains the company figured out its customers.
March 18, 2016

#‎AgSpringboard16‬ How-to-Pitch: Know Your Customer reminds teams to be sure to define the customer for their product or service.

March 6, 2016

Start your pitch with your "Big Idea." What problem have you spotted and how does your product or service solve it?

Pitching is selling yourself and your idea, explains student Ben Nason. For Ag Springboard, it's telling your story to a specific audience of potential investors and judges.
March 1, 2016

Nineteen ‪#‎AgSpringboard16‬ teams will prep their pitches to compete for the $7,500 top prize. What's a pitch?! We all do it every day and we can all do it better. The first in our series of pitch coaching videos.

How is Ag Springboard an opportunity for all students? Anne Hoag explains. (Video by Taylor Clayton)
February 22, 2016

What makes entrepreneurs different? Anne Hoag explains entrepreneurs — and how Ag Springboard is an opportunity for all Penn State students. Hoag is associate professor of communications and director of the Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI). Team registration deadline: Feb. 24.

February 16, 2016

Two of Starbucks' founders were college buddies. (Hey - GREAT things happen in college!) The Ag Springboard business pitch contest and $7,500 top prize helps students learn how to create their own dream job — and jobs for other people! Teams must register by Feb. 24. Email Mark Gagnon,

February 9, 2016

People who can pitch their ideas — and themselves — stand out to employers. The Ag Springboard student business pitch contest can help you polish your skills to get a great job, even create your own job. Here's how:

Prof. Mark Gagnon explains the Ag Springboard student business pitch competition and how to get started
February 1, 2016

The first step toward winning the $7,500 Ag Springboard grand prize is to talk about your idea with some friends and put a team together. Mark Gagnon explains how to get started.

Bridge the GapSci won Ag Springboard 2015. L to R, PhD. students Sarah Owusu, physiology, Josephine Garban, molecular medicine, Shawntawnee Collins, immunology/infectious diseases, Kerry Belton, molecular toxicology and Jamaal James, molecular medicine
January 19, 2016

Enter the Ag Springboard student business pitch contest by Feb. 24. Pitch your idea on a video, then live to our judges. Win $7,500 to make it happen.

Dustin Betz, president of GreenTowers shows off the BEEcosystem in action. This set up holds about 10,000 bees.
September 22, 2015

Startup GreenTowers’ mission is to reconnect people with the nature of food systems. Its new BEEcosystem design is helping to raise awareness about the decline in pollinators.

E&I Coordinator Mark Gagnon (left) and E&I Director Dan Azzara (right) are ready to help students and faculty explore entrepreneurship this fall.
August 26, 2015

Get involved with the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program at the College of Agricultural Sciences and find out! This fall, there are many options to develop your inner entrepreneur.

Bridge the GapSci members (back, L to R) Kerry Belton, Jamaal James and (front, L to R) Shawntawnee Collins, Sarah Owusu and Josephine Garban
April 15, 2015

Bridge the GapSci, a nonprofit venture to provide basic laboratory equipment to high school science students in West African countries won the $7,500 grand prize Tuesday in the Ag Springboard student business pitch competition.

April 9, 2015

Biotech saffron, Bridge the GapSci, Protein Station, Blue House and Delivered U named finalists

Dr. Nina Jenkins, entomologist and CEO, is the keynote speaker for Tuesday's Ag Springboard Awards Banquet
April 9, 2015

Ag Springboard Keynote Speaker Dr. Nina Jenkins, an entomologist and expert on finding safe ways to control pests, will tell her story of commercializing the discovery of a fungal spore that kills bed bugs.

March 23, 2015

Some pitch advice especially for the 19 Ag Springboard student teams who are working on their 10-minute pitch videos. And you — because we can all do a better job pitching our ideas!

March 3, 2015

Register your team NOW to compete for the $7,500 grand prize in the Ag Springboard student business pitch competition. Thursday, March 5 is the final registration deadline. E-mail Mark Gagnon,

Dr. Mark Gagnon, E&I Program Coordinator
March 3, 2015

Perfection stifles innovation, says Mark Gagnon. Just get started.

February 25, 2015

THON began with an idea. Netflix began with an idea. GreenTowers began with an idea. Ag Springboard's $7,500 grand prize can push your idea to be something BIG!

Ag Springboard 2015 ~ Win $7,500 for your ag sciences-related business pitch!
February 16, 2015

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Coordinator Mark Gagnon ( explains Ag Springboard, a student business pitch competition with a grand prize of $7,500.

February 9, 2015

Compete in Ag Springboard to boost your resume — and maybe win the $7,500 grand prize to launch your great idea to life. Check it out this week for a free Creamery ice cream.

January 30, 2015

The first step to winning $7,500 for your startup is to build a great team

May 22, 2014

Junior Carolyn McDonald wants to teach students in Haiti’s orphanages how to create jobs for themselves and become entrepreneurs. McDonald, a community, environment and development major, is the mastermind behind the Haitian Youth Team initiative, a non-profit enterprise to educate children in agriculture and business. The project’s goal is that children leave the orphanage ready and able to create and sustain their own food-related businesses.

Graduate student and Leafy inventor Amin Afzal
April 23, 2014

Inspired by the life-giving importance of proper water and the dream of creating his own business, graduate student Amin Afzal is perfecting the "Leafy" moisture sensor.

Earl Harbaugh congratulates Team Leafy on winning Ag Springboard
April 12, 2014

A five-student team known as “Leafy,” marketing a wireless sensor that detects moisture directly from plant leaves, won the $7,500 first place prize Thursday in Ag Springboard 2014, a student business plan competition to spark and nurture innovation in agriculture.

Final Five Compete Today to Win Ag Springboard 2014
April 10, 2014

Their products include vine-covered roofs, devices that gauge plant moisture, clothes that mimic the plumage of the ruffed grouse, a natural way to convert farm waste to compost and an organization to help Haitian orphans sell agricultural products.

How do you build a successful custom cookie business from scratch? Listen to Anne Yorks tell the story of Flour Box Bakery during the Ag Springboard Awards Banquet April 10
April 2, 2014

Entrepreneur to tell her story of custom, creative cookie decorating business April 10 at student business plan competition awards banquet.

March 21, 2014

Jobi Calixte, a consultant at Ernst & Young Accounting Firm, says competing in Ag Springboard helped her to learn resilience and how to overcome obstacles as a professional in today’s work environment.

February 28, 2014

Entrepreneur and Penn Stater Daniel Eichenlaub Will Share his Start-Up Expertise with Student Entrepreneurs as an Ag Springboard Judge on April 10

Sam Guo reflects on his 2011 Ag Springboard experience
February 14, 2014

2011 Ag Springboarder: Event was ‘the seed that planted my entrepreneurship vibe’

January 30, 2014

Take your great idea for start-up, Ag-related businesses, make a splash and compete for seed money to make it happen.

Team Green Towers
November 16, 2012

Congratulations to the student teams Green Towers and Self-Sustained Protein Cycle for winning the $5,000 first and the $1,000 second place prizes in the 2012 Ag Springboard Competition.

November 2, 2012

Guidelines for the first round of video submissions for all teams in the 2012 Ag Springboard Competition. Submissions are due on November 5, 2012 at 11:55 pm.

March 14, 2012

Curious to see what the fall 2011 Ag Springboard contestants are doing? Here is our first story in our Ag Springboard 2011 follow-up series.

November 17, 2011

The Ag Business Springboard Competition $5,000 grand prize winning team has been announced, along with two teams tying for second place.