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. That’s the mission of the Sprout Lab, sponsored by Grand Valley State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Saginaw Valley State University.

Sprout Lab is designed to help people with innovative agribusiness ideas find the resources needed to develop their ideas and business concepts. Sprout Lab will offer three-day workshops in November and January, providing guidance from industry experts and resource information.

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“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.”

Cowie said Sprout Lab aims to increase innovative ideas, inventions and technologies that solve problems related to soil, wind and 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.

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“Sprout Lab — Growing your agribusiness idea” will be held Nov. 4-6 at Grand Valley State’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus and Jan. 8-10 at Saginaw Valley State University. Both events will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Register at

The cost is $195 for the three-day workshop; groups of three attend for $500. Students and FFA members attend for $25. There is a 20 percent discount for innovators, inventors and Michigan Farm Bureau members. Lunch and parking each day are included in the cost.

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 Cowie at or (269) 214-1227.