Josh Thompson, senior in Agronomy and Environmental Sciences, shares with us his experience in the AgEI Incubator program and how that has helped him set his future goals.
Growing up and living in Heidelberg, Germany for 9 years, Josh has spent time traveling with his parents all around the world. He has been to over 30 countries and plans to continue traveling throughout his life. Through his past internships, Josh has worked for John Deere in Germany and for Monsanto in Hawaii focusing on research and crop development. “I am eager to get into the work field to really understand how companies function and operate. This will help me more fully understand how I can start my own business.”
Getting involved in the Incubator program, Josh spent a couple of semesters trying to understand what ideas work and which don't. “The best thing this program has helped me understand is how myself and others can come up with a great business idea. A solution is only a solution if a person wants it to be. Starting an idea is more than just an idea or a solution. It’s a puzzle, all the pieces have to fit together to make it a success.”
After a couple of semesters exploring the world of entrepreneurship, Josh found an interest in Blockchain, a software platform for digital assets. What makes this technology unique to Josh is that it creates digital accountability with increased security. As Josh began to explore this technology he kept an open mind as to what consumers are looking for and how he can make it a reality with Blockchain; thus sparking an idea. Through classes and listening to consumer concerns about the agriculture industry, Josh found that not only do consumers want to know where their food comes from, but they want to see who produced that food. “Consumers really want that emotional connection. They want to see the face of the farmer and the type of labor that is used to create their product. This technology allows me to make that personal connection a reality, so my business is focused on establishing a digital connection with the consumer and farmer.”
Josh mentions that the Incubator program is structured in a way to let him figure out problems on his own. “This program allows me to work through problems that come up. The best learning experience is putting options into practice without the immediate risks.” Josh concludes by saying, “Curiosity is important in education. We are never going to be able to fully convince people about the work we do in agriculture, but through curiosity and sharing information on how produce and products are grown in our food system starts the conversation and is one way of helping consumers understand why we do the things we do.”