Call for Applications: June 18, 2024 – July 2, 2024


AG-POWERUP (Agricultural Growth Powered by Energy Upstarts) is the latest initiative from the Missouri Innovation Center, designed to support energy entrepreneurs and startups developing innovations for the agricultural and renewable energy sectors. This program is intended to address renewable energy expansion and encourage deep-tech innovation within the agricultural domain, a strategic move for our region given Missouri boasts over 90,000 farms. Consequently, deep-tech energy innovations that positively influence the agricultural sector stand as crucial drivers for advancement in our region. This program offers two tracks, SEED (Start-up Energy Early Development), and GROW (Growth Resources, Opportunities, and Workspace) tailored to distinct stages of startup development, providing resources and support to accelerate growth and success.


SEED: Start-up Energy Early Development:

SEED is an 8-week hybrid program aimed at early-stage startups. This program is designed to equip startups with a solid foundation for success, emphasizing the importance of customer validation, strategic planning, writing grants, and pitching to investors.

Program Structure:

● Customer Discovery: This process is essential for identifying the first customers and validating the business hypotheses. Startups engage in direct interviews and interactions with potential customers to understand their needs, challenges, and behaviors. The goal is to turn assumptions into testable hypotheses and refine the product or service based on feedback from these interactions.

● Business Model Canvas: This strategic management tool helps startups visualize and describe their business model comprehensively. It covers various aspects like key partners, activities, resources, value propositions, customer relationships, channels, cost structures, and revenue streams. This holistic view is crucial for startups to align their operations with their strategic goals.

● Value Proposition Canvas: This tool dives deeper into two blocks of the Business Model Canvas: customer segments and value propositions. It helps startups articulate the benefits their product or service delivers, addressing customer pains and creating gains. The canvas guides entrepreneurs in designing solutions that align with customer needs and preferences.

● Pitch Deck Development: Startups learn how to create compelling pitch decks that effectively communicate their value proposition, business model, and market potential to investors.

● Strategic Planning: SEED participants engage in strategic planning sessions to set clear, actionable goals and develop roadmaps for achieving them. This planning covers market entry strategies, growth milestones, and risk mitigation tactics.

● SEED Grants: Information on how to apply for and utilize seed grants will be provided. These grants can be crucial for early-stage startups needing financial support to develop prototypes, conduct market research, and cover initial operational costs.

By the end of the SEED Camp, startups will have a validated value proposition, a structured business model, and a clear strategic plan, positioning them for successful pitches and further development.

-Key Dates: The camp will run from July 10, 2024, to September 11, 2024.


GROW: Growth Resources, Opportunities, and Workspace

GROW is designed for technologies with some seed funding, or start-ups that need lab space for product development, marketing, and commercialization.

Program Structure:

● GROW immerses participants in the local Missouri agricultural and renewable energy sectors, fostering synergistic development of their innovations. Participants receive access to incubator space at reduced costs, strategic planning support from mentors and coaches, access to certain University of Missouri resources, and key connections in the agriculture and energy sectors for demo/pilot testing.

● Networking and Collaboration: GROW will host introductory and networking meetings between participants, incubator residents, investors, stakeholders in agricultural and energy sectors, and other relevant entities based on cohort needs.

● SEED will function as a precursor to GROW, where participants transition into becoming resident Missouri Innovation Center clients marking the first time, we are implementing a two-track feeder program. AG-POWERUP is committed to driving innovation and growth in the agricultural and renewable energy sectors by providing comprehensive support to startups at various stages of development.

The area and the region startups are encouraged to apply for this program. The selected teams will be notified via email on July 5 and further information about the program and schedule will be provided.

AG-POWERUP Application


Please fill out the following form to be considered for the AG-POWER UP SEED/GROW Track program:

To which Program would you like to apply, SEED or GROW:
Have you formed a legal company yet?(Required)
What stages of funding (if any) have you raised?(Required)
If you qualify for the Grow program, would you be willing to relocate your company to the Missouri Innovation Center (MIC) located in Columbia, MO?(Required)

For any questions or further information please contact:

Aina Zaresheva: [email protected]

Syed Barizuddin: [email protected]

Quinten Messbarger: [email protected]

About Aina Zaresheva

Aina Zaresheva earned her B.S. degree in English as a Second Language Teaching from Saratov State University in Russia. She also has a Master's degree in Russian Arts and another MA degree in Spanish Language Teaching, both from University of Missouri - Columbia. Aina has 7 years of language teaching experience. In 2023, she joined the Missouri Innovation Center as the senior office support assistant.