Is ACRE a part of the South Carolina Department of Agriculture?
Yes, ACRE is a branch under the Department.
How do I apply for the Entrepreneurship Center (EC)?
Visit the Entrepreneurship Center information to find online applications.
Is there a fee to apply or a fee for the program if I’m accepted?
There is no fee to apply or for participation in the program.
How long does Track 1 last?
There is no specific timeline, we will work with all our participants to set a timeline that best fits their product or company.
What if I don’t meet all the requirements to apply for Track 1?
If you don’t meet all the requirements for Track 1, we will have a curriculum based program (Track 2) for those entrepreneurs that have an idea but not a product or business plan yet. This program will take place late 2018.
If I don’t get accepted into Track 1, can I apply for Track 1 again next year?
Yes. You can apply with the same product or a different product.
What if I have more than one product or business?
You can apply with more than one product or business. You can either include all of them on one application or fill out individual applications for each product or business.
What is the purpose of the meeting in Columbia after my acceptance?
We believe face to face time is the best way to foster collaboration. We want to evaluate the products/companies so we can set a timeline that best suits that individual or group. Some might need longer to apply for grants, form a pitch plan for investors, want more time with mentors, etc. We want to put each entrepreneur in the best position to succeed.
For the cash awards, how is it decided how much each person/group will receive?
We will use an objective scoring rubric for all participants, record participation in the program and consider the product/company.
What if I only want the cash award or only want access to grant writing consultants, can I still apply for the EC?
Yes. While we encourage taking full advantage of what the program offers (mentors, opportunity to meet investors, grant consultants and cash awards), it is not a must.
Will ACRE help me buy equipment?
We will not help you directly buy any equipment or infrastructure. When you receive your cash award you can use at your discretion.
When will I receive my cash award?
You will receive the award at the end of your project timeline which will be determined at a meeting in Columbia.
Why do you have to know if I have a family member in the Department of Agriculture?
To be made aware and make sure there is no bias shown towards a family member.
What is grant assistance?
You will have access to grant consultants that will help you discover which grant programs best fit your product/company.
Will the grant consultants write my grant application for me?
The grant consultants will help you target which grants you have the best opportunity to receive. They will not write the application for you, but will go through the application and tell you what information you need to complete it. They will also review your application and help with adjustments that need to be made before submission.
Do we get to choose our mentors or are we assigned mentors?
Our mentors have agreed to give everyone their contact information and background in business. From this you can contact the mentor(s) that best fits you and your product/company.