AgLaunch Farmer and Small Business Owner, Alex Forsbach, Joins White House Rural Roundtable
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. XX, 2023) Alex Forsbach, an AgLaunch farmer and small business owner from Savannah, Tennessee participated in a special White House Rural Roundtable discussion in Washington, D.C. this week, alongside business and entrepreneurship advocates from across the country. The event, hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), focused on the agency’s Community Navigator Pilot Program—an initiative under the American Rescue Plan aimed at breaking down barriers for underrepresented entrepreneurs seeking support to start, grow, or recover their businesses.
“The SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program is a historic game-changer and the largest-ever dedicated federal investment in navigator services for small businesses, especially those in underestimated communities”, stated Mark L. Madrid, U.S. SBA Associate Administrator and leader of the Navigators initiative. “Under the bold leadership of SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, our Agency dedication to rural is decisive, actionable and innovative. Having Alex as a compelling voice at the table at the White House is a strong signal of that commitment to the resilient rural small business owners across the country.”
Forsbach, representing AgLaunch, expressed gratitude for the support received from the SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Program. He emphasized the program’s tangible impact on their ability to support agtech entrepreneurs, facilitating their scalability and business growth.
“It was a privilege to represent AgLaunch at this event and to advocate for rural small businesses and agtech startups,” said Forsbach. “We’re appreciative of the support that we receive from the SBA’s Community Navigator Pilot Program. It’s making a real difference in our ability to support agtech entrepreneurs and to help them scale and grow their businesses.”
AgLaunch, a Memphis-based nonprofit, connects farmers, entrepreneurs, and investors in order to catalyze new technologies and strengthen new businesses working extensively with SBA. With funding from the Community Navigator Pilot Program and through its regional “hub” connector, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (https://www.lisc.org/rural/) , AgLaunch provides direct support and technical assistance to agtech startup companies and entrepreneurs. This support empowers innovators in the agtech sector to bring new technologies to market through AgLaunch’s unique farm-centric innovation model.
In addition to helping pilot CNPP, AgLaunch is under contract with the SBA to manage Regional Innovation Clusters focused on connecting agtech startups and farms in three regions – the Mississippi Delta, in Southern Appalachia working with Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (www.knoxec.com), and in the Pacific Northwest working with SEDCOR (www.sedcor.com). AgLaunch is also collaborating with AgStart (www.agstart.org) through the SBA’s Fast Growth Accelerator Fund program.
Forsbach, along with his wife Katherine, serves as principal at Growing Acres Farm, a 3,200-acre family operation, and Tennessee Family Clinic, which provides healthcare services in rural West Tennessee. As an owner and board member of AgLaunch Farmers, LLC—a national network of diverse, innovative farmers—they actively incubate agtech startup companies on their farm, earning equity ownership in the companies they collaborate with.
About AgLaunch: AgLaunch is revolutionizing agriculture by connecting a diverse community of innovative farmers. Through our platform, farmers collaborate on due diligence, share data, coordinate trials, and support an acclaimed accelerator. We also provide investment capital to nurture agtech startups from concept to scale. Bridging the gap between current farming practices and the future, we envision nutrient-dense crops and carbon-negative farms. Our focus is on digital, robotic, and biological solutions, promoting equitable ownership in the value chain. As a Regional Innovation Cluster lead for SBA and EDA, we operate in the Mississippi Delta and collaborate across regions like Southern Appalachia, the Pacific Northwest, Southern Plains, and the Midwest. Learn more at www.AgLaunch.com.