Empowering agriculturists. This phrase is at the core of the startup I am creating and it’s precisely what the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative has done for me... it’s empowered me to turn a simple thought into a solid reality.
This summer, I was sponsored by AgEI to participate in the CYstarters student summer accelerator program. Alongside seven other student businesses, the summer of building my business took off. Here’s a few things I’ve learned:
5 Things You Should Know About CYstarters
1. You’ll be challenged.
Shorts and hoodies in the office may be acceptable, but don’t let the chill attire fool you. Weekly accountability pitches challenge each startup to share their big wins, struggles and what they’re working on. This rapid environment of growth ensures progress is made on the daily.
2. Community is key.
Not only do you get paid to work on your startup full-time, you’re placed in a group of crazy individuals who are in the same boat! Don’t waste time with your head down when there are people around you who know what’s up. The cohort members have helped me talk through ideas and make big decisions more times than I can count. When you’re a part of a great community, be sure to utilize it!
3. Ask, and ye shall receive!
We walked into the office on Day #1 to completely empty offices. We asked the program director for a few items and before we knew it, we had whiteboards, computer monitors, sticky-notes, entrepreneurial books and all the free mentoring sessions we needed. When starting a company, ask people for help – you’ll be surprised with the assistance you’ll receive.
4. You get to meet some straight-up legit people.
The phrase ‘educational sessions’ may sound boring, but they’re anything but that. From meeting someone who’s started a business that helps protect the President, to touring the Virtual Reality Applications Center – these sessions are designed to help you grow understand all aspects of what it takes to start a business. Marketing questions? Legal worries? Don’t know how to pitch? Don’t worry – each week, people with real startup experience help each company navigate the unknown waters of entrepreneurship.
5. The grind is worth it.
Long days, late nights and many frustrating moments in between. There will be days where it feels like you have no clue what you’re doing, or something just isn’t working out. But at the end of the 10 weeks – I can guarantee you, great progress will be made. By the last pitch, I was amazed to see each person’s startup look like an actual business! Looking back, the grind is always worth it.
Empowering. That’s what this summer was for me. It empowered me to start my own Ag Tech company that empowers agriculturists as they navigate the farmland real estate marketplace. Check out my business at www.terva.co - and check out CYstarters! After all, you could be just a summer away from turning your simple thought into a solid business.
Steven Brockshus is a Senior at Iowa State University majoring in Agricultural Education with a minor in Entrepreneurial Studies. Originally from a 5th generation family dairy farm in Sibley, Iowa – he is now the Founder of Terva (www.terva.co). His free time is spent reading, travelling and adventuring outdoors.