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Agricultural Innovation Prize

This challenge has been won! Read all about it! The contest encourages student teams to develop innovative plans to address social…
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prize:
$215,000
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Summary

Overview

This challenge has been won! Read about the winners on Facebook!

The Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are excited to launch the 2014 Agricultural Innovation Prize.

The competition is open to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students across all academic disciplines and runs through spring 2014, when teams will compete for the chance to win $215,000 in prize money, with a grand prize of $100,000; making this the largest agriculture-focused student competition in the world.

The contest encourages student teams to develop innovative plans to address social and agricultural challenges within food systems, improving the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s population.

The contest will narrow down all of the entries to the top 25 teams who will be invited to the final round, taking place in Madison, WI at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. 

 


Guidelines

Submissions to the Agricultural Innovation Prize are invited beginning on December 2nd 2013 at midnight Central Standard Time (CST) and the submission period will end on February 28th, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Please feel free to start an application today by following this link. Any questions or clarifications can be sent to team@agprize.com.

  1. The entry must address social and agricultural challenges within food systems to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s population. Please also see the judging criteria and scope.
  2. The entry must be composed of a process, product, service, or technology.
  3. For the initial round of competition, each entry must consist of three elements that are submitted: a narrative of the business proposal that does not exceed two pages (in the format of a PDF), a 200 word abstract of the business plan (that may be made publicly available), and a presentation (in the format of a PDF) not to exceed ten slides.
  4. The 25 teams that are invited be compete in the semi-finals must submit: a narrative of the business proposal that does not exceed 15 pages, a 200 word abstract of the business plan (that may be made publicly available), and a presentation (in the format of a PDF) not to exceed 20 slides for a 15 minute oral presentation.
  5. There are no additional submission requirements for the final round of the competition. Semi-finalists will be able to modify their presentations before the final round of competition.
  6. Teams invited to compete in the semi-final competition (25-26 April 2014, Madison, WI) must be present to be eligible to receive any prize money.  One thousand dollars will be awarded to the top 25 teams to facilitate travel.
  7. Entries for the first round of the competition must be received by February 28th, 2014 at 11:59pm Central Standard Time.
  8. Entries for the semi-final round of the competition must be received by April 18th, 2014 at 11:59pm Central Standard Time.
  9. All entries must be submitted through our online system in order to be eligible for the competition. Do not submit any entry materials via e-mail.

 

Some Resources:

Haven’t written a business plan before?  Need some more information to help you reach these guidelines?  We’ve compiled a short list of online resources that you might find helpful:

 

Rules

All teams must abide by the following rules of the Agricultural Innovation Prize to be considered eligible to compete. Any questions or clarifications can be sent to team@agprize.com.

  1. A team must consist of at least 50% students who are enrolled at half time or more at an accredited US college or university.  Students may be U.S. nationals or international students.
  2. An entry must be a product, service, technology, or process (no policy, marketing, etc.).
  3. Individuals may participate on more than one team as long as each team is aware of the shared participation.
  4. Teams may not enter an existing business (greater than $50,000 in sales per year).
  5. Students must hold a controlling interest in any competition entry (business entity must be majority owned by participating students).
  6. Any coordinators for the Agricultural Innovation Prize with access to contest-entry materials, judges, mentors, or the competition management may not enter into the competition.
  7. Any funding raised prior to entry must be declared in the competition entry.  Failure to fully disclose funding will result in disqualification.
  8. Any submitted materials must be the original work of a declared team member or held under a disclosed license.
  9. Teams are encouraged to pursue appropriate intellectual property protection (including but not limited to patents, copyright, trademark, trade secret, etc.) to protect their entry prior to disclosure in the competition.
  10. Any prizes awarded are at the sole discretion of the judging team and not subject to appeal.
  11. To receive any prize, a student member of the team must be present at the competition and awards ceremony.
  12. Eligible teams or individuals may submit more than one entry into the contest.
  13. All submitted work and materials must be the work of the entrants, except in the case of properly licensed intellectual property.
  14. Only student members of the team may present the competition material, however non-student team members are allowed to answer questions.
  15. The coordinating team with the Agricultural Innovation Prize reserves the right to withhold awarding of any prize should there be no worthy entry available.
  16. These rules, terms, and conditions may be updated or modified at any time. The Agricultural Innovation Prize will attempt to notify registered participants of the updated terms.
  17. Failure to abide by the rules, terms, and conditions may result in disqualification from current and future competitions years, subject to the sole discretion of the Agricultural Innovation Prize organizers.

 

Prize Winning Teams:

  • The finalist, grand prize, and audience vote prizes must be awarded to affiliated universities or legal business entities. The travel grants will be awarded to individuals, affiliated universities or legal business entities. As the award recipient, you decide to whom the award is granted. Please know there are definite tax implications tied to how the award is made.
  • All finalist and grand prize teams must meet mandatory reporting requirements at 6 months and 1 year from the close of the competition.  These reports must include an update on the state and status of the business and students involved, a summary of expenditures to date, and a trajectory or likely outcomes of the business looking 6 months in the future.

 

Judging Criteria

An anonymous panel of judges will review the first elimination round of entries, reducing the entries from all those received, to the top 25 via an online voting system.  The second round of judging will take place in Madison, Wisconsin via a parallel process of 3 to 4 judging panels (specific panel configuration will depend on entries received and logical track divisions where possible).  Finalists from the second round will compete on the final day of the contest in front of a new panel of judges to determine the $100,000 grand prize winner and the four $25,000 runner up prizes. The process for the $15,000 “audience choice” award will be announced soon.

The judges will consider the following areas in your proposal:

  • Technology and risk assessment
  • Creativity and originality
  • Execution and strategy
  • Market and customer understanding
  • Team structure and dynamics
  • Financial feasibility
  • Social, environmental and food system impact
  • Long-term viability
  • Transdisciplinary approach

The decisions of the judging panels are final.  Please see the student information section on rules and submission requirements.

Timeline
Forum1
Teams25
FAQ