OzSBI Announces the Return of EPIC 2024 with a Focus on Agriculture in the Ozarks

The Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI) will host its ninth annual National Small Business Week celebration on Thursday, May 2nd. Building on the success of last year’s themed event, this year EPIC will be focused on agriculture in the Ozarks with EPIC: Nurturing Growth in Agriculture. OzSBI will also be bringing back the popular business roundtable featuring three dynamic businesses working in the agriculture space and the Pitch Competition, where local entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to the crowd for a chance to win cash prizes. Current and aspiring entrepreneurs, business owners, community leaders, and anyone interested in agriculture in the Ozarks will come together at the Incubator to be informed and inspired about the countless innovative ways entrepreneurs in the Ozarks are involved in agriculture. The public is invited and encouraged to attend EPIC.

Kevin Johanson, CEO and Founder of AgButler will deliver the keynote address. As a fifth-generation farmer, Kevin and his family have a deep history in agriculture, starting out as row crop farmers and then diversifying into seedstock cattle in the 1980s. His vision with AgButler is to create a platform connecting agricultural communities and supplying a tool to revitalize rural America. AgButler aims to solve America’s rural labor shortage by giving farmers and ranchers access to a high-quality labor force while boosting rural economies.

“We are excited to bring Kevin and our three roundtable entrepreneurs to OzSBI for EPIC: Nurturing Growth in Agriculture,” Heather W. Fisher, OzSBI’s CEO, commented. “Many of our clients are involved with the agriculture space in one way or another, and this topic feels particularly relevant as a younger generation of farmers, entrepreneurs, and landowners begins to reshape agriculture in the Ozarks.” 

Kevin will kick off EPIC with his keynote discussion titled Cultivating your Passion and Reaping the Harvest, which aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs understand some of the challenges and rewards that come along with operating in the agricultural tech space. He will share many of his lessons learned as he built AgButler from the ground up. This presentation promises to be interesting for both aspiring entrepreneurs and those who have been involved with agriculture for generations.

EPIC attendees will also have the opportunity to hear four entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win $1,000. The contestants will have previously participated in two full rounds of pitches during PitchFest, perfecting and streamlining their presentation with each pitch. EPIC attendees will play a key role in the competition voting for the People’s Choice Award. 

Following the Pitch Competition, three business owners will share their entrepreneurial journey during the Ozarks Innovator Roundtable, the highs and lows, and lessons learned along the way. Roundtable participants include Joleen Durham with Piney River Brewing–a local brewery making unique use of Ozarks-grown grains, Kristen Newman with The Farmer’s Daughter–a retail store owner who also produces heritage pork, and Amy Hamilton with Hamilton Native Outpost–a seed company restoring native plants in the Ozarks. 

EPIC will wrap up with a Mixer featuring complimentary food and drinks. This excellent networking opportunity will also include the announcement of the Pitch Competition winner, so be sure to save time in your schedules to see who wins!

EPIC: Nurturing Growth in Agriculture will begin at 1:00 on May 2nd with Registration, followed by a warm welcome address by OzSBI CEO Heather Fisher, and the Keynote presentation will begin at 1:45. There will also be vendor tables by OzSBI sponsors and speakers. EPIC tickets are $20 and can be purchased online a crm.ozsbi.com/epic. Seating is limited. Community First Banking Company is the Platinum Sponsor of EPIC: Nurturing Growth in Agriculture. OzSBI is grateful for both organizations’ support of the services we offer to the business community. For more information about EPIC, visit OzSBI’s Facebook page or website at www.ozsbi.com, or call 417-256-9724.

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