; Virtual Coaching for Entrepreneurial Success | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Virtual Coaching for Entrepreneurial Success

Shannon Dill, Neith Little, and Ginger Myers


Business coaching is a popular practice in private industry where experienced and knowledgeable individuals assist and guide business owners in building and growing their business. The University of Maryland Extension created a coaching program for ag entrepreneurs to help identify goals, connect resources and make actionable steps towards starting or improving their business. In 2018 the program transitioned its one on one Entrepreneurial Coaching program to a virtual environment. Since then 87 individuals have participated in at least one virtual coaching session. The majority of individuals (68.4%) have less than five years of experience in agriculture and a variety of interests mostly in crops (63%), business management (63%) and value added (46%). Following the coaching session participants are asked to complete an evaluation about their experience. Participants rated the coaching session overall as excellent (93%) with sessions rated by appointment availability (91%), coaches knowledge (85%), duration of coaching session (73%) and use of technology (73%). A follow up survey was sent in the fall of 2020. When asked broadly about the coaching experience 73% rated the experience as valuable or highly valuable. In the past year participants have expanded their business (46%), improved the financial viability of the business (31%), started a business that provides supplemental income (23%), purchased inputs from Maryland farms or businesses (23%). When asked about the income 40% are not generating income yet and the reported average income is approximately $29,500.