Published on 03/26/18

Students present final pitches in UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences' 2018 FABricate challenge

By Sage Barnard

From alternative colas to an eco-entrepreneurial effort to support tree planting, this year’s University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) FABricate challenge showcases students’ brightest new ideas.

Student participants in the 2018 FABricate challenge will give their final pitches from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28, in room 210 of UGA’s Conner Hall. A reception, including heavy hors d’oeuvres, will be held in the second-floor lobby starting at 5:30 p.m.

Part of the college’s Food and Agribusiness Entrepreneurial Initiative, the FABricate competition provides students with a platform to expand their business and leadership skills. In the competition, students produce and market new products or services in the agriculture, business, technology or food production sectors. The final presentations will be given in the style of “Shark Tank,” the reality TV show where entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to investors.

The student presentations are open to the public, and attendees can vote for their favorite team.

“We are very excited for the three teams to showcase their ideas,” said Hannah Rull, contest coordinator and former contestant. “Since October of last year, each team has spent hundreds of hours perfecting their business idea, and this will be a must-see for the entrepreneurial community in Athens.”

This year, there are three teams competing for the grand prize of $5,000 in startup money.

Since October 2017, these teams have been working with Four Athens, a local entrepreneurship resource center, and have hosted think-tank seminars with local entrepreneurs to work through their ideas. The three teams are competing in two categories: New Food Products, which consists of the Kona Kola and the Veggie-Licious teams, and Agriculture and Food-related Business, which includes the Wished Trees startup.

The Kona Kola team consists of UGA graduate students John Tarleton, Alyssa Flanders and Lane Flanders. Veggie-Licious is made up of CAES undergraduate students Jasmyn Reddicks, Tatyana Clark and Ayodele Dare. Wished Trees comprises CAES graduate students Rance Paxton and Mary Kate Bagwell.

Finalists in last year’s competition pitched a solar-powered, smart irrigation system for urban and suburban landscapes, and an app that enables restaurants to share wait times with customers.

For more information about the FABricate program, visit

Sage Barnard is a student writer for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Cooperative Extension.

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