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Coming Up at CAIC: Get Ready for AgriBiz Hub!

Get ready for a new space to learn, connect, and grow! 

 

In less than two months, the CAIC team will officially be launching AgriBiz Hub, an on-demand training and networking platform for farmers, value-added producers, and food and beverage manufacturers in the Delmarva region. From focus groups with local farmers to all of the design and technical aspects, our team has been working hard to make this new community a reality, and we’re looking forward to being able to share it with you. Read on to learn more about AgriBiz Hub, including what you’ll be able to do with it, why we’re building it, and how you can help shape it. 


What’s AgriBiz Hub?

We’re designing AgriBiz Hub to serve farmers, producers, and entrepreneurs at any stage of business growth. The platform will have three main capabilities: 

 

  1. You’ll be able to learn new skills on your own time with interactive content from CAIC courses. From strategies for growing your farmers market sales to tips on creating the perfect marketing plan, you can choose the modules that interest you most. There will also be a user-friendly library of essential checklists and templates to support you as you work toward your goals. 

 

  1. You’ll be able to connect with your fellow farmers, producers, and food and beverage manufacturers. Through discussion boards, forums, and other community features, members will have the ability to collaborate with and learn from dozens of other entrepreneurs in the Chesapeake region. Create a user profile to share more about what you’re looking for, and lend your own expertise to others. 

 

  1. You’ll be able to grow your network and tap into valuable resources with our comprehensive online directory of regional agriculture organizations and service providers. Search for what you’re looking for, and filter out what’s less relevant. From funding opportunities to guidance on policies, you’ll find more of what you need to take your company to the next level. 

 

Why AgriBiz Hub?

To make a long story short, we created AgriBiz Hub to help bring the experience and benefits of our core programs to a wider audience. 

 

  1. Networking and community. Starting with the first course CAIC launched nearly two years ago, we’ve consistently noticed something in our participants’ post-program feedback: Along with the actual course content, attendees almost always mentioned how much they’d appreciated the networking opportunities that they’d found. It’s no secret that building a business can be isolating, as can farming itself, and our participants frequently commented that it had been helpful to connect with other producers at similar growth stages. Some of them have even collaborated with each other since meeting in our programs, and we wondered how we might be able to create other opportunities to build these kinds of meaningful connections.   

 

  1. Flexible learning opportunities. We also know that (to state the very obvious) most farmers and producers have busy and unpredictable schedules, especially when they’re working to grow a business. As we found that there were some prospective participants who were unable to fit our longer-term programs into their schedules, we started thinking about ways to make our course content available to a wider audience—so that busy producers could develop the skills they’re interested in learning on their own time.  

 

That’s how AgriBiz Hub—a virtual learning and networking space specifically for the region’s farmers, producers, and food and beverage manufacturers—was born. Since then, we’ve been conducting focus groups with Delmarva farmers and producers of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels. These sessions have given us phenomenal insights into prospective users’ needs and preferences, as well as some of the resources—from farmers markets to community groups—that have been helpful to them. And all of the feedback has helped us shape the platform we’re building.  

 

We Want Your Feedback, Too!

With the launch scheduled for January’s upcoming Future Harvest Conference, our team is working hard to finalize the design, content, and logistics of AgriBiz Hub. As we do so, though, we want to ensure that we’re creating a platform that will truly be meeting the needs of the people for whom we’re designing it. That’s why we’re seeking additional feedback from farmers, producers, and entrepreneurs. Here are two ways that you can still make your voice heard: 

 

  1. Take a quick survey. We want to hear from you! Click here to take a short survey on your needs and preferences. 

  2. Sign up to become a beta tester. Get an early look at AgriBiz Hub and help us shape the platform by becoming a beta tester! Click here to sign up.

 

We’re looking forward to sharing more information with you soon. Stay tuned!

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MINI-GRANTs

Mini-Grants up to $5,000 are available for:
– Market Research and Validation of Target Market
– Customer Acquisition
– Product Development Initiatives
– Food Safety Classes
Eligibility
Value-added producers and companies with traction ($20,000 or more in yearly revenue) in Maryland and Delaware are eligible to apply for Mini-Grants. Participants may apply once for each of the categories. Applicants must demonstrate that they have a unique and differentiated product or service that incorporates an aspect of innovation or technology in its production, processing, distribution, or other element of the food supply system.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Award decisions will be made and funds will be available no later than three weeks following the receipt of a completed application.
Application Process
Applicants must submit Mini-Grant proposals by filling out the form at this link. Copy(ies) of quote(s), proposal(s), estimate(s), or any other supporting documents.

ACCESS TO SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS (SMES)

CAIC offers access to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who can offer authoritative advice based on their deep knowledge and experience in a specific area. See the ADVISORS page of this Web site to learn more about the SMEs who are available to CAIC participants.

Date and Time of Session: Wednesday, October 20th; 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM
Course Description: This presentation discusses strategies for B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) growth via marketing and sales. The presentation focuses on each company’s plans to diversify its revenue streams by using e-commerce, exporting, and overall customer acquisition tactics to support and enhance brand awareness.
Desired Prerequisite Knowledge and Experience of Attendees: There are no prerequisites for this Virtual Presentation.
Criteria for Acceptance into the Virtual Presentation: Attendees need to have a product-based business; this is not suited for technology and/or app companies.