Entrepreneurship Food and Agriculture-Related Enterprises

Winter 2020
Class Size: 50
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Dion Gouws square
strategic planning, business management and entrepreneurship, accounting
David Muehleisen
sustainable agriculture, entomology

This program is a hands-on opportunity for students interested in environmentally and socially sustainable enterprises to learn about biologically-based agriculture and management strategies for running a farming or food-based operation. Most of our time will be spent working in groups to develop strategic business plans around actual sustainable enterprises. We will utilize business planning, accounting, tax and web development software applications as well as scientific instruments and applications.

We will discuss farm management strategies, such as lean management strategies for farm operations and food establishments. We will also discuss business opportunities within all aspects of the greater food system. How does organic certification, Food Safety Moderation Act (FSMA) and other Government regulatory requirement affect your business model? What infrastructure do we need? How do we find land? What is the role of County Extension, conservation districts, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS)?

We will design a business plan, competitive business model and a solid strategic plan. We will investigate social purpose corporations and other forms of business ownership. Our business plan will incorporate marketing, accounting, human resources, and strategic planning. We will use accounting software to record and analyze data in a lab setting. We will learn how to estimate taxes, do break-even analyses, calculate payroll costs and prepare pro forma financial statements.

Building a business can require outlays of cash and financing. Most farm and food businesses are comprised of various smaller, self contained enterprises. We’ll learn how to measure whether anyone enterprise is going to make money and, if so, how much money. We will explore debt and equity financing while planning for business investing needs and also gain an understanding of how financiers make investment decisions.

Credit equivalencies can be expected in managerial accounting and strategic planning.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

Entrepreneurship, farming, agriculture extension and other food- and agriculture-focused government agencies, (i.e., USDA, FDA. WSDA, WA Dept. of Health, WA Dept. of Ecology), NGO, restaurant industry, and food processing and distribution.


Credits per quarter



Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.

$40 for computer software

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 50

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Sunday, January 5, 2020 - 9:00 am
SEM 2 C4107 - Workshop

Located in: Olympia