Blog Feature

Day 1: UC Davis Ag Innovation Entrepreneurship Academy
Balancing a Growing Need for Food with Agriculture’s Impact on the Environment

Image of Day 1: UC Davis Ag Innovation Entrepreneurship Academy

Global population has passed 7 billion people, and by 2050 we will have 9 billion people on our planet. We live in a world where many people are food secure, and the world actually grows enough food for all of us. But that extra 2 billion people are a looming challenge in the food, ag and health industry.

In addition, the food and ag sector faces challenges in climate change, loss of biodiversity, and energy and land use. There is an increasing need for the industry to balance society’s growing need for food with agriculture’s harmful effects on the environment.

As Harold Shmitz, chief scientific officer of Mars, Incorporated, noted in his Dean’s Distinguished Speaker talk last night, “Scientific discovery and fundamental understanding in food, agriculture and health sectors offer critical business opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation at scale.”

The Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Sustainable AgTech Innovation Center organized the Ag Innovation Entrepreneurship Academy at UC Davis from October 22–24 to explore these critical business opportunities. Researchers and early-stage startups working on fundamental issues in the food, ag and health industry—including irrigation technologies and natural colorants for the textile industry—are exploring how their innovations can make a broader impact in the marketplace.

Andrew Hargadon, faculty director of the UC Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and professor of technology management at the Graduate School of Management, kicked off the academy by stressing that it is not enough to have a good idea. A good idea has to build on other good ideas and surround itself with the right network if it is to grow into a business that can have significant impact on the market. Entrepreneurs also need to build experiments to test their value proposition before they invest significantly on building their product.

Kari Perez, technology lead at Fintrac presented on the Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation program that was started by her company and USAID. The program invests in commercializing agricultural technology that helps smallholder farmers, with a focus on Feed the Future countries and those with USAID agriculture programs. In its first year, the program has invested in postharvest technologies and irrigation systems.

Mike Ward of Morrison & Foerster LLP educated the audience on intellectual property and patent law. Key takeaway: a patent gives the inventor the right to exclude others from making, using, selling and importing for a period of years.

Next we heard from Thomas Nelson of the Capay Valley Farmshop, which is working with 40 farms in the Capay Valley to bring more local food into the market. In Thomas’ experience, consumers value local food more than organic food because it helps them invest back into their communities. Capay Valley Farmshop provides source identification to chefs and helps relay its farmers’ stories to consumers.

Rounding out the day, Bob Adams, executive director of the UC Davis Sustainable AgTech Innovation Center, led a session on defining the problem that the business is trying to solve. Many times, entrepreneurs invest significant resources in an innovation that does not solve the problem. Once the problem has been defined and the value proposition has been identifies, entrepreneurs need to nail their elevator pitch.

Follow the conversations at the Ag Innovation Entrepreneurship Academy on Twitter: #Agripreneurship

The academy is funded in part by a grant from the Economic Development Agency’s i6 Challenge under the Sacramento Region Clean AgTech Innovation Center Development Project. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendation are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Agency or the U.S Department of Commerce .

Commands

Twitter Feed

Loading tweets...

Spotlight Story

Andrew Barkett Finds Innovative Ways to Fuel Entrepreneurship
Named First-ever Chief Technology Officer for Republican National Committee

Image of Andrew Barkett Finds Innovative Ways to Fuel Entrepreneurship

UPDATE: Andrew Barkett is leaving his post as senior engineer at Facebook to bring his decade of experience in Silicon Valley to become the first-ever chief technology officer for the Republican National Committee.The June 4 announcement has stirred a whirlwind of media coverage, including the Huffington Post and Washington Post.Bark

Spotlight Story

MBA Student Consultants Make an IMPACT
Projects Put Business Needs Front and Center

Image of MBA Student Consultants Make an IMPACT

Agilent Technologies’ Electronic Measurement Group is a $3.6 billion business that over the past decade has seen a dramatic shift in its customer base from U.S., and Western European customers to predominantly Asia-based customers. Today, the majority of the division’s revenues are generated outside of the U.S., with an increasing concentration in China.

Spotlight Story

UC Davis Part-Time MBA in Top 8%, Full-Time MBA in Top 9%
U.S. News & World Report’s latest rankings: This marks the 19th consecutive year our MBA program has been ranked among the best in the nation.

Image of  UC Davis Part-Time MBA in Top 8%, Full-Time MBA in Top 9%

(Davis, CA) — The UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s full-time MBA program has been ranked among the top six percent of AACSB International-accredited programs nationwide, according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest graduate business school rankings released today.

Spotlight Story

Mark Otero MBA 07 Builds Sacramento’s Coolest Company
The secret of social gaming mogul Mark Otero’s success is taking things to the extreme

Image of Mark Otero MBA 07 Builds Sacramento’s Coolest Company

The secret of Midtown Sacramento’s Facebook gaming mogul Mark Otero’s success is taking things to the extreme.