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Inaugural Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge Launched

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American Farm Bureau Federation and Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business Partner on Challenge

Washington, D.C. – The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) together with Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) and the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative’s StartupHoyas today announced the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. The first-of-its-kind challenge provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations being cultivated in rural regions of the United States. The Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge is a key component of the Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative, a joint effort between AFBF and Georgetown McDonough.

The inaugural challenge is accepting applications through September 15, 2014. Ten semi-finalists will be announced at the National Summit on Rural Entrepreneurship at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business on Tuesday, October 14. The summit is sponsored jointly by AFBF, GSEI, and the White House Rural Council.

“Through the challenge, we will identify rural entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and help them remove any barriers standing between them and a viable, emerging business,” said Lisa Benson, AFBF’s director of rural development. “Winners will get initial capital, as well as mentoring to take them from innovative concept, to strategy, to reality. Farm Bureau recognizes that great business ideas can germinate anywhere, and we’re excited to see what our members will bring to the table.”

Challenge finalists will pitch their business ideas to a team of judges at the AFBF 96th Annual Convention, to be held in January in San Diego, Calif. Participants, who must be based in a rural county, will compete for the Rural Entrepreneur of the Year Award and prize money of up to $30,000 to implement their ideas. To learn more about the challenge and submit an online application, visit http://www.strongruralamerica.com/challenge.

“Rural entrepreneurs face unique challenges and more limited options when exploring new business ideas. But just as in Silicon Valley, great ideas combined with the proper support and funding can be transformational,” said Jeff Reid, founding director, Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative’s StartupHoyas.

“Bolstering economic growth through entrepreneurship strengthens not only rural America, but all of America,” said Ladan Manteghi, executive director of the Global Social Enterprise Initiative. “Our partnership with Farm Bureau combines complementary assets to bring educational tools, business expertise, incentives such as the challenge, and mentorship to rev up new business concepts and rural economies.”

About the American Farm Bureau Federation
With family members at the county or parish level in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the American Farm Bureau Federation is the unified national “Voice of Agriculture,” working to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities. AFBF is the nation’s largest and most influential grassroots organization of farm and ranch families. Additional information may be found at www.fb.org. Follow AFBF on Twitter: @FarmBureau.

About the Global Social Enterprise Initiative
The Global Social Enterprise Initiative at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business aims to prepare current and future leaders to make responsible management decisions that yield both economic and social value. Through practical training for global business leaders, the initiative promotes transformative solutions to and impactful investments in the world’s significant challenges in health and well-being, economic growth, the environment and international development. Learn more at http://socialenterprise.georgetown.edu.

About the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative
The Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, led by founding director Jeff Reid, inspires Georgetown University students to be entrepreneurial, teaches them the entrepreneurial lessons learned by others before them, connects them to useful resources, and helps them pursue their own unique entrepreneurial interests. The initiative manages an array of courses and extracurricular programs to serve the Georgetown University entrepreneurial community, both within and outside of the McDonough School of Business, and fosters stronger connections to the vibrant Washington, D.C., entrepreneurial community and the Georgetown Alumni Association. Signature programs include the Hoya Challenge Business Pitch Competition, the StartupHoyas Incubator, the McDonough School of Business Entrepreneurial Fellowship, the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Alliance, the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Faculty Exchange, Entrepreneurs in Residence, and events such as Georgetown Entrepreneurship Day, the Venture Capital Investment Competition and Global Entrepreneurship Week. Learn more at www.startuphoyas.com.

About Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business
Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business provides a transformational education through classroom and experiential learning, preparing students to graduate as principled leaders in the service to business and society. Through numerous centers, initiatives, and partnerships, Georgetown McDonough seeks to create a meaningful impact on business practice through both research and teaching. All academic programs provide a global perspective, woven through the undergraduate and graduate curriculum in a way that is unique to Washington, D.C. – the nexus of world business and policy – and to Georgetown University’s connections to global partner organizations and a world-wide alumni network. Founded in 1957, Georgetown McDonough is home to some 1,400 undergraduates, 1,000 MBA students, and 1,200 participants in executive degree or open enrollment programs. Learn more at http://msb.georgetown.edu. Follow us on Twitter: @msbgu.