Salisbury University’s
Perdue School of Business
Student Entrepreneurship Competitions

May 2, 2019

F³ Tech Agricluture & Aquaculture Technologies
Business Sector Award

The F³ Tech Accelerator Program is pleased to be a sponsor of the 2019 Perdue School of Business Student Entrepreneurship Competitions by offering a business sector award of $10,000 cash award for customer discovery and general startup expenses with access to $20,000 in additional seed funding for the best business idea or innovation having the promise of commercialization and meeting an industry need in agriculture or aquaculture. This award is open to all Salisbury University students and SU student partner teams with student from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Wor-Wic Community College and other institutions. Teams must have a SU student register the team to be eligible.

Below are some industry problems or challenges that student teams entering the SU student competition may consider in developing a solution through innovation or technology and the subsequent creation of a business plan. Submissions to the student competition may be merely at the idea-stage, but should represent some potential for the proposed solution or innovation to achieve commercialization and market viability.

Only SU students or student teams interested in the prospect of moving the proposed business idea towards commercialization (either by starting a business or selling/licensing the intellectual property) will be considered for the F³ Tech Business Sector Award. Submissions must fall within the industry sector of agriculture or aquaculture.

The industry challenges listed below do not restrict SU students or student teams from addressing other industry problems or challenges they may choose to address. The below problems are only intended to provide a direction for students needing a start in creating a new business idea upon which to develop a business plan submission in agriculture or aquaculture to be entered into the Salisbury University Student Entrepreneurship Competition and to be considered for the F³ Tech Business Sector Award.

The primary criteria is for a SU Student of student team to address an industry problem or challenge within the agriculture or aquaculture industry sector. Students may select an industry problem from the list below or select their own industry problem. The winning submission must display a business idea or innovation that solves a problem and has the following characteristics:

Is the idea/innovation CLEAR?
Is the idea or innovation well-structured and comprehensive?
Does the SU student or student team provide sufficient analysis regarding the technological and business aspects of the idea/innovation?

Does the idea/innovation have potential to make a SIGNIFICANT IMPACT?
What impact on the industry might this idea/innovation make?
Is this impact positive and significant, either broadly or deeply in an area?

Is the idea/innovation NOVEL?
Does the idea/innovation involve a new product, method, solution or technology?
The idea/innovation can either be entirely new or a new application of an existing product, method, solution or technology.

Is the idea/innovation FEASIBLE?
Is the proposed idea/innovation technically feasible?
Does the SU student or student team illustrate the feasible implementation of the idea/innovation?
Does the idea/innovation provide insight into technical potential or product need in sufficient depth?
Is the market targeted by the SU student or student team attractive?
Does the SU student or student team demonstrate depth of knowledge regarding the initial target market (e.g. channel, target customers, competitive advantage of the product etc.)?

Submissions must also comply with all other eligibility and requirements of the Perdue School Business Entrepreneurship Competitions.

The F3 Tech Business Sector Award of $10,000 cash award for customer discovery and general startup expenses with access to $20,000 in additional seed fundingis a seed funding award in the form of an allowance for the express purpose of furthering startup and commercialization efforts of a business idea that is selected during the 2019 SU Perdue School of Business Student Entrepreneurship Competitions and is the most responsive to an industry problem and holds the best promise of commercialization.  The $10,000 award will include:

    • $5,000 in allowance towards customer discovery expenses (i.e. communication expenses with target customers, travel expenses to target customers, focus groups, interviews & surveys)*
    • $5,000 in allowance for general startup expenses (i.e. operational agreement, IP attorney, business insurance, entity creation)*

Access to $20,000 in additional seed funding includes:

  • $10,000 in allowance towards technology or innovation validation expenses (i.e. lab expenses, consultant expenses, prototype expenses)*
  • $5,000 in allowance towards market validation expenses (i.e. market analysis & study expenses, consultant expenses, focus groups, interviews & surveys)*
  • $5,000 in allowance for 100 hours of CFO consultation in preparation for commercialization and investor readiness

Additional details:

  • All expenses are to be approved by F3 Tech staff prior to reimbursement to student(s) or direct payment of invoices to vendors.
  • The F3 Tech Program Director will provide unlimited mentoring and consultation in support of the student efforts to advance, develop, validate, and commercialize the awarded business idea.
  • The SU student or student team business awarded the F³ Tech Business Sector Award will receive priority consideration in being accepted into the four-month F3 Tech Accelerator program (starting SEP 2019 to include additional access to up to $35,000 in additional seed funding) based upon the progress made in advancing the development of the idea beforehand.  The F³ Tech Accelerator program and its funding is a separate program from Salisbury University and the Perdue School of Business Student Entrepreneurship Competition.
  • F3 Tech will provide real world industry mentorship to the awarded student or student team business through elevated connections with industry mentors (to include national agribusiness executives; aquaculture operators, environmental experts, research & development scientists; and experts-in-residence in marketing, manufacturing, distribution, and investment).

*  Along with the above payment allowances, F3 Tech staff and mentors will assist with networking and connecting students to subject matter experts who can provide the needed professional and consulting services.

The Benefits of Smart Farming: How IoT (Internet of Things) Is Shaping Agriculture

SU student or student teams interested in being considered for the F³ Tech Business Sector Award could consider technologies and IoT which have the potential to transform agriculture in many aspects. Namely, there are five ways IoT can improve agriculture:

  • Data, tons of data, collected by smart agriculture sensors, e.g. weather conditions, soil quality, crop’s growth progress or cattle health. This data can be used to track the state of your business in general, as well as staff performance, equipment efficiency, etc.
  • Better control over the internal processes and, as a result, lower production risks. The ability to foresee the output of your production allows you to plan for better product distribution. If you know exactly how much crops you are going to harvest, you can make sure your product won’t lie around unsold.
  • Cost management and waste reduction thanks to the increased control over production. Being able to see any anomalies in the crop growth or livestock health, you will be able to mitigate the risks of losing your yield.
  • Increased business efficiency through process automation. By using smart devices, you can automate multiple processes across your production cycle, e.g. irrigation, fertilizing, or pest control.
  • Enhanced product quality and volumes. Achieve better control over the production process and maintain higher standards of crop quality and growth capacity through automation.
Examples of IoT Use in Agriculture 

There are many types of IoT sensors and IoT applications that can be used in agriculture:

Monitoring of Climate Conditions

Probably the most popular smart agriculture gadgets are weather stations, combining various smart farming sensors. Located across the field, they collect various data from the environment and send it to the cloud. The provided measurements can be used to map the climate conditions, choose the appropriate crops, and take the required measures to improve their capacity (i.e. precision farming).

Some examples of such agriculture IoT devices are allMETEOSmart Elements, and Pycno.

Greenhouse Automation

In addition to sourcing environmental data, weather stations can automatically adjust the conditions to match the given parameters. Specifically, greenhouse automation systems use a similar principle.

For instance, Farmapp and Growlink are also IoT agriculture products offering such capabilities among others.

GreenIQ is also an interesting product that uses smart agriculture sensors. It is a smart sprinklers controller that allows you to manage your irrigation and lighting systems remotely.

Crop Management

One more type of IoT product in agriculture and another element of precision farming is crop management devices. Just like weather stations, they should be placed in the field to collect data specific to crop farming; from temperature and precipitation to leaf water potential and overall crop health, these can all be used to readily collect data and information for improved farming practices.

Thus, you can monitor your crop growth and any anomalies to effectively prevent diseases or infestations that could harm your yield. Arable and Semios can serve as good representations of how this use case can be applied in real life.

Cattle Monitoring and Management

Just like crop monitoring, there are IoT agriculture sensors that can be attached to the animals on a farm to monitor their health and log performance. This works similarly to IoT devices for pet care.

For example, SCR by Allflex and Cowlar use smart agriculture sensors (collar tags) to deliver temperature, health, activity, and nutrition insights on each individual cow, as well as collective information about the herd.

End-to-End Farm Management Systems

A more complex approach to IoT products in agriculture can be represented by the so-called farm productivity management systems. They usually include a number of agriculture IoT devices and sensors, installed on the premises as well as a powerful dashboard with analytical capabilities and in-built accounting/reporting features.

This offers remote farm monitoring capabilities and allows you to streamline most of the business operations. Similar solutions are represented by FarmLogs and Cropio.

In addition to the listed IoT agriculture use cases, some prominent opportunities include vehicle tracking (or even automation), storage management, logistics, etc.

Four Things to Consider Before Developing Your Smart Farming Solution

As we can see, the use cases for IoT in agriculture are endless. There are many ways smart devices can help you increase your farm’s performance and revenue. However, agriculture IoT apps development is no easy task. There are certain challenges you need to be aware of if you are considering investing in smart farming.

1. Hardware

To build an IoT solution for agriculture, you need to choose the sensors for your device (or create a custom one). Your choice will depend on the types of information you want to collect and the purpose of your solution. In any case, the quality of your sensors is crucial to the success of your product— it will depend on the accuracy of the collected data and its reliability.

2. The Brain

Data analytics should be at the core of every smart agriculture solution. The collected data itself will be of little help if you cannot make sense of it. Thus, you need to have powerful data analytics capabilities and apply predictive algorithms and machine learning in order to obtain actionable insights based on the collected data.

3. Maintenance

Maintenance of your hardware is a challenge that is of primary importance for IoT products in agriculture, as the sensors are typically used in the field and can be easily damaged. Thus, you need to make sure your hardware is durable and easy to maintain. Otherwise, you will need to replace your sensors more often than you would like.

4. Mobility

Smart farming applications should be tailored for use in the field. A business owner or farm manager should be able to access the information on site or remotely via a smartphone or desktop computer.

Plus, each connected device should be autonomous and have enough wireless range to communicate with the other devices and send data to the central server.

5. Infrastructure

To ensure that your smart farming application performs well (and to make sure it can handle the data load), you need a solid internal infrastructure.

Furthermore, your internal systems have to be secure. Failing to properly secure your system only increases the likeliness of someone breaking into it, stealing your data, or even taking control of your autonomous tractors.

F³ Tech is promoting this Salisbury University Perdue School of Business Student Entrepreneurship Competitions Business Sector Award among students at Salisbury University, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Wor-Wic Community College in order to take advantage of academic strengths at each institution and encourage collaboration among their respective student populations, especially between academic specialties (i.e. business, agriculture, science, technology, and engineering)

In order to facilitate connections between students at each institution, we offer a bulletin board for postings by students in search of other students interested in working on the same industry problem and working together on a submission to the Perdue School of Business Student Entrepreneurship Competitions.

TEAM MEMBER BULLETIN BOARD

Email if you have any difficulties with bulletin board

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