HUNTINGTON — Agricultural innovators across West Virginia will compete for a business assistance package valued in excess of $10,000 as part of a contest sponsored by the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI).

The 5th Annual West Virginia Vanguard Agriculture Competition will honor innovation and ingenuity in agriculture, recognizing an entrepreneur whose idea has the greatest potential to solve logistical challenges in the local food supply chain and bring a new product to market.

The contest is part of RCBI’s Agricultural Innovations, an initiative to improve opportunities for West Virginia’s farming and agricultural economy. The initiative supports and enhances a vibrant local foods system by promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. RCBI also helps food producers, distributors and buyers expand their reach and influence through advanced manufacturing practices and product development.

The winner will receive assistance with:

n Product design and development

n Logo creation and marketing

n Patent, trademark and copyright applications

n Business development planning

n Funding opportunities

West Virginia residents and out-of-state residents enrolled in West Virginia colleges and universities are eligible to compete. Innovators must apply online at www.rcbi.org/go/vanguard2020.

Entries must be received by February 12, 2020, at 5 p.m. The winner will be announced in late February during the West Virginia Small Farms Conference in Charleston.

The Agricultural Innovations initiative is funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and supported by a coalition of partners across West Virginia.

The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) delivers expertise and innovative solutions with leading-edge technology to advance manufacturing and entrepreneurship.

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