AgriNovus Indiana, a food and agriculture innovation initiative, will use a two-year, $4.2 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support strategic programs to meet the education, talent and entrepreneurship needs of the growing agbiosciences sector in Indiana. The grant was made to the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) Foundation, which supports the charitable, educational and scientific purposes of CICP. CICP is the nonprofit parent organization of six economic development initiatives, including AgriNovus. To encourage others interested in the agbioscience sector to support AgriNovus, $500,000 of the grant is subject to matching conditions.
AgriNovus is focused on advancing the agbiosciences sector through strengthening public awareness, building a 21st century agbiosciences workforce, researching and identifying the growth opportunities to create a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, and developing strategic collaborations among partners to promote innovation.
“Indiana’s agbiosciences sector has a $16 billion impact on the state and employs 75,000 Hoosiers,” said Beth Bechdol, president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana. “AgriNovus is now perfectly positioned to design and launch impactful programs around public education and awareness, talent and workforce, and entrepreneurial support. We appreciate the generous support of Lilly Endowment in these efforts.”
AgriNovus has identified three key strategies that are crucial to enhancing Indiana’s efforts to make it a recognized agbiosciences industry leader in the development of new, innovative products and services. They are:
- Developing general and targeted public education initiatives to raise awareness about the agbiosciences sector and the opportunities it offers;
- Supporting talent and workforce development efforts to create a pipeline of professionals trained for and excited by agbiosciences careers in Indiana; and
- Identifying best practices in entrepreneurial growth and investment to leverage Indiana’s agbiosciences resources.
“Few states possess the academic, corporate and agricultural production assets that make Indiana a national leader in this sector,” said Ace Yakey, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for community development. “AgriNovus is poised to increase awareness of the sector and help build an environment that encourages the growth of meaningful employment opportunities in Indiana communities and the workforce to take advantage of these opportunities.”
AgriNovus will continue to strengthen the state’s agbiosciences sector through initiatives already in place such as the #timetotell public outreach campaign and the annual Indiana Agbiosciences Innovation Summit (November 29, 2017), among others. AgriNovus’ stakeholders include business, university, community and government leaders with an interest in Indiana’s diverse food and agricultural sector.