Nov 16, 2018Ag’s ‘Shark Tank’ tabs start-up AgHelp as semifinalist
Michigan start-up AgHelp is a national semifinalist in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF), 2019 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. Sponsored in partnership with Farm Credit, the contest recognized AgHelp as one of 10 semi-finalist in the annual agricultural equivalent to the popular TV-show, Shark Tank.
The competition provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations in agriculture. This is the fifth year of the Challenge, which is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs launching food and agriculture businesses, according to AFBF President Zippy Duvall.
“It’s a pleasure to recognize these 10 outstanding rural businesses,” Duvall said. “Recognition of the faith, courage and creativity these entrepreneurs have shown in starting their rural businesses is well-deserved.”
AgHelp company founder Feliciano Paredes has been working to develop an agricultural “app-based” employment recruitment tool, according to Bob Boehm, manager of Great Lakes Ag Labor Services (GLALS). The app would link interested farmers and potential employees together and could be used for both domestic and H-2A Seasonal Guest Worker recruitment.
“AgHelp has developed an app that would allow potential H-2A workers and farmers to connect for job openings,” Boehm explained. “We see the mobile app as a compliment to the H-2A administrative services we provide farmers, and it actually ties in perfectly with the changes in advertising requirements just announced by the U.S. Department of Labor, that would allow on-line advertising for employment opportunities and recruitment.”
As a semifinalist, AgHelp will receive a $10,000 startup fund award through the Challenge to help them take their food and agriculture businesses to the next level, while also competing for the final four designation (selected from the 10 semifinalist teams) and announced Dec. 5.
If selected as a final-four finalist, AgHelp would receive an additional $5,000 and win an all expenses paid trip to compete nationally in a live-pitch competition at AFBF’s 100th Annual Convention in New Orleans on Jan. 13, 2019.
The final four teams will be competing to win:
- Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneur of the Year award and $15,000 (chosen by judges), for a total of $30,000
- People’s Choice award and $10,000 (chosen by public vote), for a total of $25,000
Ag Innovation Challenge monetary awards are provided by Farm Credit, John Deere, Country Financial, Farm Bureau Financial Services and Farm Bureau Bank.
In addition to AgHelp, the other nine semi-inalist teams include:
- Continuum Ag, http://www.continuumagllc.com, Washington, Iowa. Team lead: Mitchell Hora
- Elite OviGen Inc., https://www.eliteovigen.com, Beverly Hills, Florida. Team lead: Anette Skoog
- FarmlandFinder, https://farmlandfinder.com, Ames, Iowa. Team lead: Steven Brockshus
- Glean LLC, http://www.liveglean.com, Farmville, North Carolina. Team lead: Laura Hearn
- Merchant’s Garden AgroTech, http://www.merchantsgarden.com/, Tucson, Arizona. Team lead: Chaz Shelton
- Nebullam LLC, https://www.nebullam.com/, Ames, Iowa. Team lead: Clayton Mooney
- Pasture Labs/Trackter, https://trackter.us, Newnan, Georgia. Team lead: Josh Whitlock
- Texas Mobile Mill LLC, http://www.texasmobileolivemill.com, Madisonville, Texas. Team lead: Cathy Bernell
- Vinduino LLC, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4RnVSBV22o&feature=youtu.be, Temecula, California. Team lead: Reinier van der Lee