Requirements for acceptance to the incubator program

Program Requirements

Our program only accepts candidates that have demonstrated that they are focused, driven, organized, and committed to their proposed venture. The page provides an overview of the general expectations of participants in our incubator program.

Pre-Application Internships

If these applications requirements seem daunting, they are! We can help you develop your ideas and experience from a concept to your final application. Usually, this process will take the form of an internship on a suitable rural property.

Most land owners have similar expectations when entering into long-term lease agreements. Your venture should benefit from this development process, even if you do not end up applying to our program.

Application Packet

To apply to the incubator program, you will need to develop a number of materials to support your proposal. These materials comprise your application packet. We can guide you to develop these materials, but we can only serve as an incubator of your own fully conceived ideas.


Your mission statement embodies the life-long goals of your venture in a single sentence. The best mission statements are simple, unambiguous, and profound. They might serve to launch an elevator pitch, where you have less than 30 seconds to explain your complete business to a potential investor.

Due to their importance, mission statements can be notoriously difficult to write. In most cases, they can be written easily after the remainder of your packet has been complete, extrapolating a succinct summary from the totality of your preparatory materials. In other cases, they serve as the inspiration for writing those documents.

Above all else, your mission statement must be clear and narrow in its focus. For example, you might choose to produce quail eggs for sale to regional restaurants. Or to raise rabbits for meat to sell to pet food companies. Or produce a specific set of special vegetables for sale to local markets.

Your focus may change later for a variety of reasons. It happens to many businesses before they find their road to profit. In our program, such refocusing might require a fresh run through the incubation program development process, to develop plans for the new program. At the very least, a cursory review of your program occurs annually, as part of the annual re-enrollment process, to revise your lease to account for your past year's growth.

Business Plan

A well-focused business plan provides a complete outline and expository details for each and every aspect of your business.

This is the most important document in your application packet, and it should include sections that cover:

  • mission statement
  • founder/team bio(s)
  • origin story
  • production methods
  • market research and analysis
  • marketing/sales strategy
  • resource consumption (including labor, land, facilities, equipment, services)
  • sources of funding, financing, and other capital resources
  • possible risks associated with all of the above

Many excellent resources for writing a good business plan can be located at your local library (or using Google).

Financial Model

Your business plan must outline and detail a solid financial plan for your venture, and that description should be the most probable outcome of all reasonably possible scenarios. By contrast, your financial model provides a dynamic model capable of computing the outcome of those various scenarios. Conventionally, such models are constructing using a spreadsheet application (e.g. Excel):   

  • complete line-item breakdown of all expenses/revenues
  • models your potential profit/loss in each stage of incubation

Supplemental Materials

While the business plan and financial model provide the key details of your venture, you may also provide a portfolio of supplemental material that provides evidence that your venture should be successful:

  • photos and video of past/pilot efforts
  • examples of similar ventures in other markets


Farm, ranch, and forest jobs can be extremely hard. The pay is bad, the hours are long, and mother nature is absolutely ruthless and unforgiving. The modern business environment makes mother nature look tame and benevolent.

Starting a new rural business requires an incredible level of commitment. First, you must perform the physically demanding tasks required execute your production program. That will take 90% of your energy. When that job is done, you must also manage the business itself, by producing marketing materials, developing sales leads, hiring labor, sourcing suppliers, handling regulatory compliance, entering receipts and balancing the books, and much more. Collectively, those tasks will demand another 90% of your energy, and the world won't care that you only have 100% to give.

Program participants that demonstrate the necessary commitment should be rewarded with a thriving business. If a participant demonstrates a lack of commitment when it comes to meeting their ongoing obligations, their program will be terminated with cause.


Ultimately, the primary mission of your venture must originate from deep inside your being, to ensure you truly are pursuing your own dreams and not those imposed upon you from other sources. That inner spark will serve as the principle source of passion for your venture. With it, you can endure any struggle required to bring your new business to life.

If your ideas are not your own or you cannot drive this process forward and complete the remaining materials, then your decision to become an entrepreneur may need reevaluation. The work will only become more difficult from here, so persevere until reaching success requires your total commitment.


At startup, there will be more work than can be done, so there is little time for vacation or leisurely activities.

Participants in our program must affirm their commitment to spend at least 3000 hours per year pursuing their venture during the startup and launch phases, or approximately 60 hours per week

If full-time off-the-land income must be produced to fund the business, all of your weekends and evenings must be dedicated to meet this commitment. In other words, you must commit a second full-time of effort and resources to seeing your business succeed. Anything less invites failure.


Startup businesses also require near total dedication of finances.

Vacations, dining out, and other personal expenses should be minimized, with all available funds dedicated to growing the company. A $5 coffee could be a Facebook ad campaign that generates new customer leads. The cumulative effect of such decisions has a profound affect on the business.

Due to the nature of startup businesses in modern economic climate, most participants in our program will be expected to endure personal financial hardship during their incubation program, foregoing most non-critical personal expenses until after graduation.

If unexpected financial problems arise, your personal spending may become the subject of an internal audit, to get your business back on track. To proactively avoid such intrusion or other consequences of fiscal irresponsibility, you should plan to utilize our confidential, on-site, professional bookkeeping services; that ensures that both your personal and business finances are tracked and managed responsibly and fully for the duration of your program.