New Ventures employs a multi-faceted outreach strategy. Anyone wishing to start or expand a business can

obtain assistance from a variety of sources:

Writing a Successful Grant Proposal - An Online Resource


2008 Grant Writing Workshop - Streaming File click here and view in Windows Media Player

This streamed program is approximately 2 hours. The program provides information on how to successfully meet the requirements of 3 specific USDA funded grants:

  • the USDA-Rural Development Value-Added Producer grant
  • the USDA-Energy grant,
  • the Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education grant.


Workshops and Conferences

Since 2003, Purdue AICC/New Ventures has delivered 69 workshops or conferences programs to more than 1760 participants. View the calendar for upcoming programming. Some examples of programming include:

  • Introduction to Starting a Speciality Food Business in Indiana
  • The Business Plan – a Hands-on Session

  • Introduction to New Ventures: Generating a Business from Ideas

  • Bigger Profits Through Targeted Sales

  • NxLevel: Tilling the Soil of Opportunity Program

  • Operating an Efficient Farmers’ Market

  • Business Beginnings – in Spanish for Hispanic Entrepreneurs

  • Marketing 101


The New Ventures team has developed twenty-one publications designed for entrepreneurs, value-added ag producers and small business owners who are interested in starting a small business or make changes to their business to be profitable. All of the publications are expert-reviewed, meeting rigorous standards for subject matter. The publications help the reader work through the challenges and opportunities associated with new business development. Many of these publications have interactive worksheets and checklists to assist the users in understanding the concepts and applying them to their own business ideas. View the list of publications.


Web-Based Business Planner

INVenture is a free, easy-to-use, systematic internet-based business planning tool. The primary purpose is to give entrepreneurs who lack formal business training the means to address the necessary details. INVenture currently has 3349 registered users from across the country and around the world. 40% of the users spend more than one day using the software and 25% of the users spend more than 8 days on it. Users can generate a draft of their business plan in .doc format at any time by clicking the Generate Report link and then still go back and edit their business plan. INVenture received the 2006 Outstanding Agricultural Economics Extension Website Award from the American Agricultural Economics Association Extension Section. 

To log onto INVenture, go to:


Indiana MarketMaker

Indiana MarketMaker is now live! MarketMaker is an interactive mapping system that locates businesses and markets of agricultural products in Indiana, providing an important link between producers and consumers. MarketMaker is a powerful directory of state and regional food producers and buyers that is free to consumers, farmers and businesses. All Indiana farmers and food business owners can register their operation, and consumers and other users can search for information any time. MarketMaker is currently one of the most extensive collections of searchable food industry related data in the country.

To register your operation, go to

Who should use Indiana MarketMaker?

  • Direct sellers researching buyers
  • Buyers looking for specific products from farmers
  • Traders on the Internet
  • On-farm retailers
  • Farmers selling to restaurants
  • Farmers selling to food processors
  • Farmers looking for other farmers to partner with
  • Restaurant chefs looking for product
  • Institutional buyers looking for local product
  • Farmers selling speciality processed foods
  • Community Supported Agriculture
  • U-pick operations

What can I use Indiana MarketMaker to do?

  • Research customer demographics – income, ethnicity, household characteristics, education
  • Search for specific business records
  • Use contact information to reach specific buyers
  • Find numerous area market contacts
  • Network with restaurants, on-farm retailers, and specialty processors

Business Plan Examples

  • Corn Masa: a case study about specialty grains

  • Certified Pork: a case study about a pork meat product

  • TAOCO: a soy-based de-icer product for the aviation industry

Individual Consultation

New Ventures team members meet with individuals and groups considering a new business opportunity and provide them with education on how to effectively evaluate new business opportunities and shepherd them through the evaluation process. Help requested includes determining licensing requirements, evaluating market feasibility, and technical assistance in product development. Enterprises served include energy and biomass businesses, value-added livestock production, organic and ornamental plants, food and food processing, trucking, day care, baby clothing for premature babies, and high-rise window cleaning.


While many of the entrepreneurs and business owners have some tie to an agricultural venture, a diversity of enterprises and individuals have participated in the workshops, sought consultation or employed the publications and web-based tools and resources. The assistance ranges from helping the client determine licensing requirements for a new business to evaluating market potential to writing a business plan. Clients have sought assistance with:

  • Assessment of market feasibility

  • Business plan development

  • Technical assistance

  • Referrals to other expertise

Recognition and Awards

the NVTeam has earned significant recognition for its positive impacts and is the recipient of the 2006 Purdue University Cooperative Extension Specialist Association (PUCESA) Team Award, and the 2007 Purdue Agriculture Team Award.


Federal Links:

Indiana Links: