Oklahoma Farm Bureau, along with national and state-level partners, is proud to launch the Oklahoma Grassroots Rural and Ag Business Accelerators, a rural economic development initiative designed to spur innovation, diversify opportunities for farmers and create jobs in rural Oklahoma.
The core of the initiative is two separate business development pipelines that will connect rural Oklahoma innovators and ventures with investment and business support, bringing the next generation of Oklahoma ingenuity to life.
The Cultivate Oklahoma agricultural innovation pipeline – powered by national partner AgLaunch Initiative working with Ag Ventures Alliance, a farmer cooperative that invests in ag tech startups – will focus on innovations and technologies that have on-farm or production agriculture applications to provide new opportunities for Oklahoma farmers. Cultivate Oklahoma is a farmer-focused pipeline building a network of innovative farmers to incubate and scale the next generation of agricultural technologies.
The Activate Oklahoma rural innovation pipeline connects rural entrepreneurs with Oklahoma-based resources through curriculum provided by Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers created to help innovators navigate the business landscape to bring their ideas and technologies to market.
Graduates of the Activate Oklahoma pipeline qualify for an opportunity to pitch their innovation, technology or venture to a panel of investment capital partners for a chance to receive equity investment in their enterprise. Ventures that complete Cultivate Oklahoma have the opportunity to be selected by a panel of Oklahoma farmers and their peers in the farmer network to participate in the national AgLaunch365 accelerator and receive pre-seed-stage equity investment.
Each pipeline features a bootcamp-style program featuring a diverse curriculum that provides businesses with business resources, input from business development experts and mentorship connections. Cultivate Oklahoma programming runs from June to September, and Activate Oklahoma programming is planned to run from June through November, but is subject to change based on programming needs.
To apply, companies must have operations, investment or impact in Oklahoma and must be located in a community with a population of 50,000 or less.
Applications for the Cultivate Oklahoma and Activate Oklahoma pipelines are open from April 21 through May 19, and participants will be selected no later than June 9. The application is available on the Oklahoma Farm Bureau website at okfarmbureau.org/accelerator.
Oklahoma Grassroots Rural and Ag Business Accelerators program partners include Oklahoma Farm Bureau, AgLaunch, Oklahoma CareerTech, Oklahoma SBDC, Oklahoma i2E, Oklahoma State University’s Food and Agricultural Products Center, Noble Research Institute and Cortado Ventures.
The Oklahoma Grassroots Rural and Ag Business Accelerators program is made possible by initial funding from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology’s State of Oklahoma Business Accelerator Program, which is providing a 1:1 match of investment capital for the businesses and operating expenses. Additional investment is expected from other partners.