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    Date submitted
  • 18-Feb-2018

OutGrowth, LLC

Abstract

OutGrowth designs residential, out-of-the-office internships by forging powerful partnerships between college students and small farm businesses for one-month summer projects.

These project placements all relate to the small business development of the farm, and range from marketing and social media strategy to educational program development. Designed to be credit-bearing, each project will give students the opportunity to experience real immersion, join a growing community of change-makers, receive ongoing mentorship and have creative control over their professional development. At the end of the program, students produce tangible deliverables that directly contribute to farmer business growth.

Merging career competency-building with social impact and professional purpose, OutGrowth creates the ultimate immersive learning environment.

Video

Original YouTube URL: Open

Introduction Video

Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

-College students -Students seeking experiential learning opportunities -Students seeking summer internships -Students with an interest in environmental science, sustainability, food production and policy -Students with an interest in outdoor education -Students with an interest in service learning/ community impact -Students with an interest in travel

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

OutGrowth provides solutions to two emerging problems. First, we provide the space for students to build sought-after career competencies through our project-based approach. According to NACE, only 11% of business leaders and 14% of the general public feel strongly that students who graduate from college have the skills needed to be successful in the workplace. Additionally, there is a gap in student and employee engagement, or what I describe as a connection to purpose. Only 14% of 30,000 college students surveyed thrive in NACE’s well-being and engagement dimensions: purpose, financial, community, social and physical. Only 33% of the U.S. workforce feels engaged at work. The second emerging problem is the need for food production to increase combined with our growing obligation to rally around small business. It is predicted that 9.6 billion people are going to inhabit the planet by 2050, meaning food production must increase by 70%. According to the USDA, 58% of all direct farm sales to consumers come from small family farms. Eighteen percent of principal operators on family farms in the U.S. started within the last 10 years, and the percentage of minority farm owners is growing. As younger farmers begin to enter the industry, we have an obligation to support their efforts in organic production, social solution-building, education, clean water and environmental sustainability. Small business resources are desperately needed to work toward successful business development.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

OutGrowth is unlike any other program in the market to date. Our programming not only helps students to create competitive edge in a flooded job market (while earning credit), but it also connects students to purpose-driven communities and meaningful work. Studies are showing that Gen Z (even more than the millennial generation) is gravitating towards service-based travel and community-centered work. OutGrowth merges experiences typically housed in different industries, while at the same time helping farmers to achieve stable business growth. We are doing this during a time when there is a growing interest in/commitment to agriculture. Our unique value, combined with our low start-up costs and subject-matter expertise, set us apart.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

This year marks OutGrowth's pilot phase. During this phase, we are starting extremely small, aiming for 15 maximum placements. This is being done in order to preserve and monitor the quality of the experience, both for students and farmers. Feedback and strategic improvement will be key parts of this pilot year. After year one, OutGrowth will work to scale up operations, expanding to one-day and one-week accelerated immersion, opening experiences up to high school and corporate groups. By slowly rolling out the service phases, success and a high level of value are achievable. The creation of a scholarship program to broaden OutGrowth's market is another key element of scaling the business. OutGrowth is a brand new business concept, and thus provides a unique mix of value. While immersive, OutGrowth undercuts the price of traditional international or outdoor immersive experiences, making it accessible to a broader student segment. OutGrowth also allows for more creative control over results than the traditional office internship. OutGrowth provides more structure and co-curricular elements (including credit) than traditional agri-tourism and farming/WOOFFing programs. It is this unique experience mix that gives OutGrowth an advantage over other types of experiential programming. This, combined with a staged roll-out and careful experience monitoring, will contribute to OutGrowth's competitive advantage long-term.