top of page
Library Study Group

Concept Design and

Value-Added Entrepreneurship for Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences



APEC 3551 is a Concept Design course. The focus of this course is two fold: first in creating ideas that solve real consumer problems.  And second, determining if these ideas can be developed into consumer concepts that have viable commercial opportunities. The course is not a class on how to start a new venture. Rather the students are working on entrepreneurial thinking competencies that take them from: concept design as a solution to a real consumer problem; developing critical assumptions of required hypotheses needed for a realistic product roadmap; identifying acceptable target consumers; and demonstrating a path to transactional viability.  The final output of the class is what you see here - a feasibility plan and a product pitch. 


The pitch is 5 min with another 5 min reserved for Q&A.  The questions are submitted before they present by a professional panel that has reviewed their Executive Summaries.  The student’s task is to pitch a recommendation to their panel for approval to take the development project to the next stage. So this is a Go/No Go plan rather than a business plan.  The key experience for students is to practice skills in creativity, problem identification, opportunity recognition, entrepreneurial thinking, and decision-making in an economic context. These 10 plans represent some of the best demonstrations of these skills this past semester. I hope you enjoy the outstanding thinking of these CFANS students.

Course Process

APEC 3551 Course Flow Infographic.png


USASBE AI Workshop
Prompt Gallery

Consumer Concept Scoring Sheet

How to Craft a
High-Scoring Consumer Concept

How to talk to potential customers using ChatGPT

AI Concept
Workshop Slides

Feasibility Plan Template

Portfolio Gallery

Top 10 Plans
Fall 2023

Bovi-Vet, Online Vet Care
Beukema, Haley
Ag Communications & Marketing and Ag & Food Business Mgmt and Animal Science

Transform cattle care with Bovi-Vet, a unique smartphone app empowering U.S. farmers to treat cattle effectively at home. Access expert veterinary advice 24/7, treatment guides for common illnesses, and a convenient in-app store for medications and supplies. Bovi-Vet ensures top-notch cattle health without the need for expensive vet visits.

Monstera of the Month

Elliott, Quinn

Applied Economics and Communications


Embrace green living with 'Monsteras of the Month', a unique houseplant subscription service designed for urban dwellers. Offering carefully chosen plants with a complete care kit and AI-powered support, it's ideal for those new to plant care. Enjoy the convenience of tailored plant selections and ongoing care advice, enhancing your home and lifestyle effortlessly.

FarmTalk Mental Health Support App

Findlay, Amber

Applied Economics


FarmTalk is a groundbreaking digital platform designed for farmers, blendinginformation, connection, and support in one app. It offers 24/7 access to farming news,expert advice, and a community network, addressing the critical issue of mental healthin agriculture. This innovative solution enables farmers to seek discreet support andengage with peers, fostering a stronger, more informed farming community.

AgAlly App

Jaenisch, Abby

Ag & Food Business Mgmt and Marketing


AgAlly is a unique app designed for farmers, offering a supportive community forequipment rental, mutual aid, and support groups. It addresses the isolation andchallenges faced by farmers, providing a platform for sharing resources and seekinghelp. WithAgAlly, farmers can easily connect, rent equipment, and find solidarity in acommunity, enhancing resilience and cooperation in rural areas.

PrenatalLyte Supplement

Lawrence, Sydney

Ag & Food Business Mgmt


PrenataLyte offers a unique, convenient solution for prenatal nutrition with its powderedvitamin mix, blending essential nutrients like folate and omega-3s with electrolytes.Tailored for expecting mothers and those trying to conceive, it simplifies daily vitaminintake, enhances hydration, and eases digestion, all in avariety of tasty flavors.

Ambrosial Foods

Luskey, Madeleine

Applied Economics and Anthropology


Ambrosial Seasoning Oils elevate home cooking with vibrant, diverse flavors. These high-quality oil infusions, available in five unique blends, transform everyday meals into gourmet experiences. Perfect for cooks of all levels, these oils add depth and excitement to dishes, solving the problem of bland, uninspiring home-cooked meals.

FlavorFusion Butter Blends

McGraw, Maxwell

Ag & Food Business Mgmt and Supply Chain & Operations Mgmt


FlavorFusionButter Sticks revolutionize your kitchen with a simple yet innovative twist.Say goodbye to the blandness of regular butter and embrace a range of exciting flavorsfor every meal. These user-friendly sticks, available in savory and sweet varieties, makeenhancing your dishes effortless, perfect for both novice cooks and culinaryenthusiasts.

FeedSaver Bucket

Murrell, Alison

Ag Communications & Marketing


FeedSaver Bucket redefines equine feeding with its innovative, spill-proof design,tailored for horses of all sizes. This sturdy,high-density polyethylene bucket withadjustable straps ensures mess-free feeding, reducing waste and saving costs. Ideal forhorse owners seeking efficient, stress-free feeding solutions, it combines conveniencewith nutritional accuracy, enhancing the feeding experience.

PitchMaster Pro Camp

Novotny, Tucker

Ag & Food Business Mgmt


Novotny Pitching Lab offers a specialized service in Minnetonka, MN, focusing exclusively on developing young pitchers. Utilizing advanced analytics, drillwork, and weight training, the lab tailors programs to enhance each pitcher's unique mechanics. This innovative approach fills a gap in youth baseball development, providing aspiring pitchers with the tools and expertise needed to excel.


Nowakowski, Veronica

Applied Economics and Creative Writing


LifeSaverLink revolutionizes emergency response with its QR code-embedded jewelry, providing instant access to vital medical information for humans and pets. This innovative solution enhances safety by equipping emergency personnel with critical data, ensuring timely and informed care. Users gain peace of mind, knowing their essential health details are readily accessible in crises.

Pressure Pro Pal

Olson, Olivia

Ag & Food Business Mgmt


Pressure Pro Pal introduces a game-changing solution for weightlifters: a sensor-equipped belt that measures intra-abdominal pressure. This innovative product offers real-time feedback on bracing techniques, enhancing stability, performance, and reducing injury risk. It's perfect for athletes across all levels, seeking to optimize their lifting form and safety.

Fresh Alert Shelf-Life App

Ozegovic, Alma

Strategic Communications


Fresh Alert is an innovative food management app designed to combat food waste and enhance kitchen efficiency. For just $2.99, it offers real-time expiration alerts, personalized recipe suggestions, and a built-in grocery list feature. Ideal for those seeking sustainable, cost-effective meal planning, it's a smart, all-in-one culinary assistant.

Top 10 Plans
Fall 2022

Chavira Rodriguez, Emmanuel
Ag Communications & Management & Ag
& Food Business Management 

The ForaGPS is a software solution for farmers to increase the efficiency of their forage and cash crop harvesting operations. With ForaGPS, harvest teams can give and receive directions/tasks, receive information at a glance, locate machinery with precise mapping, and waste no time in getting the job done.


Bad Apple Cider Company
Farrell, Molly
Sustainable Ag & Food Systems &
Ag & Food Business Management

Bad Apple Cider Co. produces a variety of craft hard ciders using otherwise unharvested apples and fruit from Minnesotan farmers. Our ciders fight food waste without compromising taste, meaning customers can enjoy Bad Apple Cider knowing they’re supporting local farmers in the name of sustainability

Gross, Ben
Applied Economics & Management

Niro is a 100% natural supplement made from a single ingredient that has been used as an anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and analgesic for thousands of years. Niro was created to fill the gap between effective and natural in the headache relief products marketspace.


Fly Guide App
Haley, Jack
Ag & Food Business Management

Introducing Fly Guide- a fly fishing app that allows fishermen to help other fishermen out by leaving notes on what fly they used to catch fish at a specific location, date, and time.

Zenith Rural Health App
Jorgensen, Garrett
Ag & Food Business Management

Zenith Strength & Conditioning is a digital platform that brings to life a refreshing and interactive approach to personal physical health and fitness for those in rural areas who struggle to find the time and motivation to develop and maintain physical health and fitness

FoodShare App
Muller, George
College of Professional Studies - Social Design

FoodShare is attempting to bridge the gap between the thousands of hungry people in every city and the amount of food that is wasted in grocery stores and food shelves.

Crater's Custom Baits
Olson, Alec
Ag & Food Business Management

Crater’s Custom Baits is an online bait manufacturer that sells personalized fishing lures.

Fun Guy Farmer
Pugh, Cecilia
Applied Economics &
Sustainable Ag & Food Systems

Fun Guy Farmer’s Layer Feed Supplement is a supplement made for laying hens to create more vibrant orange yolks.

Roller Bottle
Roberts, Cameron 
Applied Economics

The Roller Bottle combines hydration and muscle recovery by providing hikers with a water bottle that functions as a muscle roller, in order to get hikers back on the trail after a short break feeling refreshed and recovered, faster.

FarmHands App
Stegeman, William
Applied Economics 
Farmhands Fresh is a mobile platform that combines the convenience of online grocery shopping with the community focus of your local farmer’s market or specialty grocery stores.

Thomas, Kyle
Applied Economics & International Agriculture & Ag Environmental Sciences Communication 

The FFA Experience App is an integrated platform available to every FFA member to select and customize the membership management tools, educational content, and networking resources that best meet their needs through their FFA journey.

FitBun Weight Loss Pellets for Rabbits
Winhono, Clarisse
College of Science & Engineering

The Fitbun Diet Pellets are designed for rabbits to eat the same amount of food without consuming as many calories.

Top 10 Plans
Fall 2021

The Smarter Smoker
Boelter, Kyle
Applied Economics

The Smarter Smoker is a safer and easier way to use a bee smoker to bring beekeeping into the 21st century. 

Next of Can
Dauman, Randon
Ag & Food Business Mgmt
A completely transparent operating non-profit. Next of Can focuses on helping individuals, programs, schools, and other organizations in providing equipment and financial compensation

BurriGo - Flawless Folded Burritos
Hansen, Emily
Ag Communications & Marketing

It is the first at-home, hand-folded burrito maker that constructs the most secure burrito or wrap.

St. Paul Smoothies
Jordan, Julie 
Applied Economics

St. Paul Smoothies is a shop to customize your ideal smoothie where almost all of the ingredients are Minnesota-made

Fly Ties
Kuralie, Sam
pplied Economics & Env Sciences Policy & Management

A fly-tying subscription kit that gives you the option to select what type of fish you are fishing for and what freshwater region you are in and then we give you a custom kit that allows you to tie your own flies for fly fishing.

Farm Fresh App
Michael, Sylvia
Sustainable Ag & Food Systems

Farm Fresh is an app designed to promote local food, support small farmers, and help consumers connect with farm fresh food. This app makes it simple and easy for consumers to purchase food from their local farmer.

GreenLeach Thumbnail.png

Muscle Menu
Mumford, Mari
Applied Economics

Muscle Menu is a subscription service that provides customers with customized meal plans to reach their training goals.

Pester, Hayden 
Ag & Food Business Management
SnoBandit is an elastic cut-resistant band that fits around the toe section of a snowboard boot. The rails on snowboards are tuned to be razor sharp to cut into snow when cornering.

Green Leach
Reed, Tanner 
Agricultural Communications

The Green leach is a tile inlet that utilizes a new concept by being completely under the ground, as well as the natural ecosystem as a water filter.

EveryBODY Eats
Schmidt, Amy
Applied Economics & Env Sciences Policy & Management
everyBODY eats is a nonprofit organization that delivers food boxes to community members who have restrictions that do not allow them to attend local food pantries.

Ranch Hand Holster
Swenson, Hailee 
Ag Communications & Marketing
This holster allows a hands-free holder and temperature monitoring for use during livestock vaccinations. 

The Minnesota Local Sandwich Shop
Warta, Madison
Applied Economics

The Minnesota Local Sam is a farm-to-hand sandwich shop located in the St. Paul Student Center at the University of Minnesota.

Top 10 Plans

Fall 2020


Bergstrom, Grace 

Animal Science

Cows eat hay. Large round hay bales are often bound with a petroleum-based plastic wrap that can pose numerous challenges to removal and pose health threat to cows that try and eat them. EdibleNet is an alternative woven net bale wrap that is made from hemp that does not require removal and can be safely consumed by ruminants.

FoodPal App

Clark, Megan 

Food Science


Food waste is an issue in the home for both food safety and cost. The FoodPal app solves this problem by tracking and managing your food inventory. Use the app to scan your grocery purchases and keep track of the remaining safe shelf-life for your food. App also creates grocery lists and suggests recipes you can use to create meals from your left-overs.

Huisman, Makayla 
Animal Science, Food Business Management

Underweight piglets have higher survival risk and can be uneconomical to farmers. The PICU is the piglet intensive care unit that can quickly turn around a underweight piglet and get them back to health. The PICU is a stand-alone piglet feeding system that provides a surrogate replacement for sows that is designed to help underweight piglets get the essential nutrition they need to catch-up.

C&S Seed Detector

Johnson, Sydney 

Applied Economics, Journalism

A novel hand-held laser detector that can accurately measure the underground seed depth without digging into the soil. Requires a proprietary coating on the seed that can also double as a pesticide pre-treatment, the C&S Seed Detector is a patentable approach to making sure planters are working properly and crops have the optimal seed depth for germination success.

Backyard Buzz Adopt-a-Hive

Krueger, Alexander 

Applied Economics

Gardeners and plant enthusiasts rely on bees to help ensure beautiful blooms and harvests. Backyard Buzz is a service that puts a working beehive in your backyard. Backyard Buzz will come out to your yard or garden, assess for hive location and success, and then set-up and maintain a working hive for the season. In the fall, Backyard Buzz comes back to harvest the honey and then safely packs up the bees for winter. You get three jars of your own honey and the bees get sent to California for the winter. Renew your hive every year with Backyard Buzz.


Lobak, Vladyslav 

Food Business Management, Entrepreneurship

A novel hand-held electric skate truck wrench for skaters and skate boarders. This tool is designed to fit conveniently in the palm of your hand that helps you quickly change all the wheels on your skate board or shoe skates. Don't waste time or risk damaging your skates using a clumsy wrench when you can use the re-chargeable electric T-Tool.

Restrooms for All

Qu, Junhong

Applied Economics

This app is the AirBnB meets Uber for public restrooms. The COVID pandemic has made the availability of public rest rooms scarce and a worrisome concern for travelers or anyone out about town. The app is a location and transaction provider to identify pay-to-use services for rest room facilities. Now restaurants and other places of businesses can safely charge for restroom use and allows customers to know they can find facilities when they are out and about.

The Lunch Lab

Richmond, Elizabeth 

Food Business Management


The Lunch Lab is a subscription meal kit service created especially for kids! These delicious meal kits are designed to help kids learn how to cook safely and to learn where their food comes from.

Sherpa Cart

Schwartz, Louis 

Applied Economics

The Sherpa Cart is a novel electric cart system that can carry all your camping gear while you are on your favorite trail. The Sherpa Cart also has solar panels to help recharge your devices and can carry up to 300 lbs of firewood and other camping essentials.

Eco-Green Biodigester

Xiao, Shengkai 

Applied Economics


The Eco-Green Biodigester is a DIY backyard-sized biodigester that can convert your food and kitchen organic waste into methane biogas that can be now be captured and re-used to burn in your outdoor grill or gas stove.


Yoon, Soyoung 

Applied Economics


Meal.K is a retail smoothie shop concept for the South Korean urban market. Active Korean consumers on the go can stop by a Meal.K smoothie shop and purchase a nutritious and delicious meal replacement smoothie shake on their way to school or work.

Zucchi Bread

Zielke, Sophia 

Applied Economics, University Honors Program

Consumers on a gluten-free diet want more choices for bread products that both nutritious as well as good tasting. Zucchi bread is a frozen loaf of gluten-free bread made with zucchini puree to provide bread-like body and a source of fiber. Zucchi bread comes in original, chocolate chip, and lemon poppyseed flavors for $7.99 a loaf and can be found in the freezer section of Whole Foods and Fresh Thyme stores near you.

bottom of page