GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ) — Michigan’s agribusiness sector is filled with innovators. Many tools and inventions could be scaled up for greater economic and industry impact.

Sprout Lab, sponsored by Grand Valley State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Saginaw Valley State University, is designed to help people with innovative agribusiness ideas find the resources needed to develop their ideas and business concepts.

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Sprout Lab will offer three-day workshops in November and January, providing guidance from industry experts and resource information.

“Sprout Lab is a way to engage problem solvers in the agriculture, natural resource and energy sectors in exploring further commercial development of their ideas,” said Julie Cowie, program manager for Sprout Lab. “Whether someone has an idea or is just looking to network, the workshops offer a concentrated delivery of information where participants will get a portfolio of regional resources.”

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Cowie said Sprout Lab aims to increase innovative ideas, inventions and technologies that solve problems related to dirt, wind and/or water. Sprout Lab is designed to help participants move an idea from the farm or field to the market with the help of regional and university professionals. Farmers, engineers, students, environmentalists and conservationists are all encouraged to participate.

Sprout Lab will run “Growing Your Agribusiness Idea” Nov. 4-6 on Grand Valley’s Pew Campus in downtown Grand Rapids and Jan. 8-10 at Saginaw Valley State’s campus in University Center. Both programs run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, and the cost to attend is $195.

Sprout Lab is a pilot program funded by a grant from the Michigan Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

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Register online at For more information, contact Julie Cowie at or (269) 214-1227.