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Makenna Seghers: Business meets Agriculture with the Early-Stage Business Bootcamp

Starting early

Some people easily see the big picture while others are considered details people. When you’re talking about building a business, you need to be able to see both in order to bring it all together.

Missouri State University student, Makenna Seghers, completed the fall 2023 cohort of the Early-Stage Business Bootcamp. Now, she shares about her experience, the helpful insight she gained into her business venture, and the connections to resources and people she made that will help her when she’s ready to launch her soil laboratory. 

Expanding her network

As a student, Seghers had taken a business course with Sandra Smart, a technology and commercialization specialist at the Missouri SBDC at MSU. Throughout that course, Seghers built a rapport with Smart, who ultimately encouraged her to apply for the Early-Stage Business Bootcamp.

It was the perfect opportunity to connect with a diverse group of individuals with fresh perspectives, according to Seghers.

“I applied with just an idea,” Seghers explained. “You don’t need to go into it with a business up and running.”

In addition to learning about business plans and financials, Seghers really valued the guest speakers, who:

  • Led important topical discussions in business-related areas, like insurance or government contracting.
  • Relayed thought-provoking information and solutions to common problems.
  • Provided good insight into the business landscape.

“The biggest takeaway for me was the little things,” Seghers emphasized. “Each time I’d walk away from class thinking, ‘why is no one talking about this?'”

Where business meets agriculture

Seghers found her passion at the intersection of business, agriculture and chemistry.  She and her fiancé, Theo Rieckhoff, developed an idea for a potential business that combines her knowledge and Rieckhoff’s crop consultant certificate. After gaining a few years of relevant work experience in the field, they hope to open a lab to help farmers integrate new technology into their management practices.

As Seghers says, soil and plants need vitamins, just as humans do. She wants to give plants the best possible living conditions for optimal growth, and technology is key to meeting those needs.

“I might be able to take a test when I’m sleep deprived, but that doesn’t mean it will yield the best results. The same applies to plants.”

That’s where her plan comes in – to help farmers suboptimal conditions in agricultural operations.

Seghers recently accepted an internship with Bayer on their pesticide field research team. With a few more years of building credibility, she’ll be ready to take her business idea by the reigns.

“I feel like I now have all the resources I need, so that when I’m ready to pull the trigger, creating my business won’t be so difficult.”