Courtesy of Georgetown University ScoutPro LLC won the Rural Entrepreneur of the Year award earlier this month.
Courtesy of Georgetown University
ScoutPro LLC won the Rural Entrepreneur of the Year award earlier this month.

ScoutPro LLC team from Lone Tree, Iowa was named Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year Jan. 14, winning the first-ever Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge.
The McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative and the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative’s Startup Hoyas, along with the American Farm Bureau Federation, organized the challenge and announced the winner at AFBF’s 96th Annual Convention and IDEAg Trade Show.

“Rural entrepreneurs continue to be a major driving force in our nation’s economy,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said in an article in the McDonough School of Business Newsroom section. “We congratulate all the finalists and wish them well in their future business endeavors.”
Michael Koenig led ScoutPro’s team, and its winning business idea is software will assist farmers with crop maintenance.

There were over 200 submissions for the challenge, 10 of which were announced as semifinalists in October at a national summit on rural entrepreneurship. After multiple rounds of interviewing and judging, these semifinalists were narrowed down to 4 finalists, each of whom received $15,000 to fund their business ideas.

The other three finalists in the competition were Pasturebird, LLC of Temecula, California, Golden Bridges, Inc. of Palmyra, Missouri and Pulaski Grow of Pulaski, Virginia.

The finalists then moved on to the ultimate round of the competition to vie for the $25,000 grand prize at the AFBF San Diego convention.

Jeff Reid, the founding director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, said that the competitors were also judged by the public.

“A panel of expert judges questioned each company and then chose the Rural Entrepreneur of the Year, while the audience voted for a People’s Choice award winner using both in-person ballots and a mobile app available to all convention attendees,” he wrote in an email to The Hoya.

MSB Global Social Enterprise Initiative Executive Director Ladan Manteghi emphasized the importance of Georgetown working together with the AFBF with the goal of helping to strengthen rural America both economically and socially.

“We wanted to help address some of these needs particularly around economic growth,”she said.“In the rural parts of the country, whatever we are facing as a nation is more acute,” Manteghi added. “The first step is building rural entrepreneurship initiative that will help spark opportunities for rural entrepreneurs.”

Reid echoed Manteghi and praised the process.

“I was proud to work on this initiative because I believe there are talented aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere, and helping them achieve success can be transformative for an entire community,” Reid said. “A program like the Rural Entrepreneurship Initiative might just provide that one thing that helps a rural entrepreneur succeed and make a huge impact on their community.”

Georgetown students worked as interns on the initiative project, conducting research and developing the challenge and the summit. Interns also helped to develop a sort of toolkit so farm bureaus at the state level can do similar challenges.

Additionally, alumni served as judges, experts and guest speakers over the course of the challenge.

“Even though Georgetown is by no means a ‘rural’ campus, many members of our community come from rural communities and wanted to help with the effort,” Reid wrote. “ Even if you have never lived in a rural community and never expect to, you should be concerned about the future of rural America. These communities provide the food, fiber and fuel that urban communities depend on, so the challenges they face are important to all of us.”

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