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Cooperative Extension: Agribusiness

Feeding Innovation

Feeding Innovation is a comprehensive technical assistance program designed to support entrepreneurs interested in developing or expanding healthy food businesses in food deserts or underserved areas of the state. Examples of businesses include farmers’ markets, mobile markets, corner stores, and CSAs. The program’s goal is to increase access to healthy food while supporting the development of strong, local entrepreneurs and community-based businesses.

Program Contact: Steven Todd Richards, Ph.D.   843-473-6024

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How It Works

Feeding Innovation participants engage in an eight-week entrepreneurial training program featuring NxLevel Courses facilitated by Clemson Extension. The courses cover everything needed to develop a basic healthy food business plans from marketing to financial planning to negotiations and deal-making. With help from the course instructor and industry experts, participants refine their ideas and develop their business plans over the eight-week period before presenting them to a panel of judges during a final pitch event. Three entrepreneurs with the strongest business plan will be awarded $30,000, $10,000 and $5,000 in seed capital.

Questions? Contact Program Manager Kelly Sharkey at to learn more about future sessions.

Past Programs

SC Community Loan Fund, in partnership with Clemson Agricultural Extension, has hosted eleven Feeding Innovation rounds since the program was established in 2014. These programs have brought in a total of 113 participants, resulting in the completion of 84 healthy food business plans. A total of $170,000 in seed capital funding has been awarded through the program to help increase access to healthy food across the state.

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Cooperative Extension Agribusiness
Cooperative Extension Agribusiness | 900 Clemson Road, Columbia, SC 29229