Agribusiness Entrepreneurship

Training value creators and skilled developers of new ventures

The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics is committed to developing strong entrepreneurial skills in its students to address the strong demand in agtech, biotech, and foodtech.


Project Profile
  • Value creation
  • Aspiring entrepreneurship
  • Startup ideation
  • End user engagement
  • Target product profiling
  • Pitch development
  • Business case framework

Students seeking permission to enroll in
Principles of Agribusiness Entrepreneurship for Fall 2018
must complete the following application.

Additional information about our agribusiness entrepreneurship course sequence is below after the form. Students will be notified of the enrollment decision.
  • Please answer the following questions:

Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Course Descriptions


1) Principles of Agribusiness Entrepreneurship

This course covers the applied entrepreneurship skills needed to identify and create an opportunity in agribusiness. Students engage in lectures and the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinical model of study using experiential learning to further expose and develop opportunities. We approach entrepreneurship as a process that can be studied, learned, and applied to identify new agribusinesses or opportunities to expand an existing agribusiness. (ARE 495-Principles of Agribusiness Entrepreneurship)

The emphasis during the course is placed on:
  • how to conceive new business ideas
  • how to evaluate the ideas
  • how to turn the ideas into new ventures

Students are encouraged and mentored during the course to examine real business ideas that they might want to pursue after graduation; either in a new venture or within an existing organization. Students create and execute an action plan with a clinic partner company to research and develop a feasibility analysis for an identified opportunity. These projects will be presented via poster sessions during the semester.

2) Agribusiness New Venture Development

This course is taken after Principles of Agribusiness Entrepreneurship. Students work in teams on a single new venture idea to further master concepts introduced in the previous course. They learn new venture development in a learn-by-doing process: from opportunity specification, to development of a compelling case, and development of an executable plan.

Skills learned include:
  • how to develop and test hypotheses about the opportunity
  • how to collect and analyze needed data
  • how to develop a coherent business model for execution of the new venture

The class is conducted in a clinic setting where student teams analyze entrepreneurial ideas for business viability.

New venture ideas may be provided by:
  • the teacher
  • by other departments in CALS seeking economic collaboration
  • by agribusinesses who seek a case study partnership with the class
  • by students

The end result is actionable plans for new ventures that are ready for presentation to prospective investors.

3) Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Clinical Practicum

The course is taken after Agribusiness New Venture Development. Its focus is to provide students an opportunity to embed themselves within the entrepreneurial community while advising and working with real ventures and engaging in experiential learning. Several field trips will be taken to visit agribusiness entrepreneurs.

The clinical practicum provides students the tools needed to execute on their own ideas within their new ventures or existing ventures partnered with the Entrepreneurship Clinic.

After completion of the clinical practicum:
  • students will be engaged in the entrepreneurial community
  • have a better understanding of launching and operating an entrepreneurial venture
  • have a more robust social network of entrepreneurs, mentors and investors
  • have the information and understanding necessary to grow an entrepreneurial venture



Dr. John S. Russ
Undergraduate Coordinator
Director of ARE Distance Education
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE)
NC State University | Box 8109
Nelson Hall, Room 3346
Raleigh, North Carolina 27695

Department Email: 

Advisory Council

  • Fulton Breem | XSinc
  • John Dombrosky | Agtech Accelerator
  • Chason & David Johnson | Johnson Nurseries
  • Carroll Joyner | Philanthropist
  • Lewis Sheats | PCOM NCSU
  • Reggie Strickland | Strickland Farming Group


Teaching Faculty

Lewis Sheats
Associate Professor of Practice
Executive Director, NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic
Assistant Vice Provost, Entrepreneurship
Nelson Hall 1340

Kelly Zering, PhD
Professor and Extension Specialist
Agricultural and Resource Economics
3328 Nelson

Gregory Hopper
Adjunct Associate Professor in the Pratt School of Engineering
3120 Fitzpatrick Building, Durham, NC 27708