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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Entrepreneurial Dreams Symposium to display student business models

Students enrolled in the AGEC 425 Agribusiness Entrepreneurship program will soon display their work in the annual AGEC 425 Corrigan-Goddard Foundation Entrepreneurial Dreams Symposium.


The AGEC 424 and AGEC 425 are two-course programs within the Department of Agricultural Economics. The classes are focused on the economic and financial practicalities of starting a rural or urban business enterprise. Each student is allowed to select their business type, and a course structure to help students learn how how to objectively evaluate a business venture. The AGEC 425 Corrigan-Goddard Foundation Entrepreneurial Dreams Symposium will be held May 2 and May 3 at the Thomas G. Hildebrand Equine Complex.


The first day of the symposium will begin with a poster event, where students display their presentation. The evening will conclude with a dinner, a presentation by a former student and an award ceremony. Six students will then be selected for an oral presentation of their project on the next day. According to the symposium event planner, Kelsey Vaughan, the symposium allows students to  present their business plans to a group of mentors and experts in various fields.


“They have about 20 minutes to present their findings to about 250 people,” Vaughan said. “This would then be followed by a rapid Q and A session by the experts in attendance, and then an hour of discussions and networking with the guests.”


The event will conclude with an award ceremony, where scholarship funds would be divided between students for the efforts they put in throughout the year. Professor Edward Rister, who is a professor at the Department of Agricultural Economics and one of the founders of the event, said the symposium often receives sponsorships from former students, who would donate anywhere from $50 to $400.


“We will have more than $70,000 in scholarships that have been donated,” Rister said. “In addition, there are always mentors that offer to fund these projects.”  

Rister also said about one-third of the students taking the course are interested in eventually starting their own businesses, while the rest were more interested in learning how to evaluate a business.


“Having gone through developing a business plan, they are better armed to ask questions and evaluate somebody else’s business,” Rister said.


Most of the organizing team for the symposium consists of students and former students who have gone through the Agribusiness Entrepreneurship and symposium. One of them is Macy Moriarty, a graduate assistant at the Department of Agricultural Economics. Moriarty said her experience has had a significant impact on her life and will continue to help her after graduation.


“What I gained from it was that there was no other class where I had to stand up in front of 200 people and give a presentation,” Moriarty said. “I was one of the six people chosen in my class to do that, and not everyone has the skills to do that or wants to do that. To be able to stand up and have people walk up to you, you have to really know about your business to answer such diverse questions.”


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