Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge


RuralchallengeinsThe American Farm Bureau Federation, together with Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative and the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative’s StartupHoyas, recently announced updated eligibility guidelines for the Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Eligibility to enter the competition has been extended to not only include rural counties listed by the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service, but also rural communities that lie within metropolitan counties, based on the population density found in the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Census of Urban Areas.

“We want to be sure that a wide range of rural entrepreneurs can compete in the challenge,” said Dr. Lisa Benson, AFBF’s director of rural development. “We hope that by broadening the definition of ‘rural’ that we’re using in the challenge, more people who are building businesses in rural areas can be included,” she explained.

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.

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

Challenge finalists will pitch their business ideas to a team of judges at the AFBF 96th Annual Convention, slated for Jan. 9-14 in San Diego, California. Participants will compete for the Rural Entrepreneur of the Year Award and prize money of up to $30,000 to implement their ideas.

Through the challenge, rural entrepreneurs with innovative ideas will be identified and provided with assistance to help them remove any barriers standing between them and a viable, emerging business.

To learn more about the challenge and submit an online application, visit



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