Wednesday, 11 May 2016 14:35

MHC students off and running in their pursuit of agriculture-related business

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MHC students off and running in their pursuit of agriculture-related business Ryan Dorton, partner with JMH & Co, Tanner Peterson, Dylan Spetz, Matthew Wass, and Daniel Wilson were all pleased with the results of the EDC program. The four students saw their two companies each receive $10,000.

Agriculture was front and centre at the Medicine Hat College May 5 as the Entrepreneur Development Centre’s (EDC) Summer Company program celebrated four winning entries receiving grants for start-up businesses. Each of those companies received the full grant of $10,000.

The benefits of the EDC program will be enjoyed by two companies with strong agricultural ties.
TMD Seeds, owned and operated by the trio of Tanner Petersen, Dylan Spetz and Matt Wass, are a wild seed harvesting company. The soon-to-be graduates of the environmental reclamation program at the Medicine Hat College all have an area of expertise and backgrounds which combine into this venture perfectly.
The company’s purpose is to harvest wild native grass seed, then supply that seed to reclamation companies in order to restore disturbed lands for the agricultural and petroleum industries, but also for wind farms and wetlands.
The three types they are targeting are the needle and thread variety (Stipa comata); Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) and Western Porcupine Grass (Stipa curtiseta).
The other agriculture-related, although not completely tied to it, business is Wilson Tech, owned by Daniel Wilson.He will concentrate his efforts on using drones for real estate and agriculture-related photography.
The EDC’s Summer Company program, funded by JMH&CO, helps college students — no matter the faculty — start a business by offering coaching and mentorship, while also facilitating access to finances and support services.
Students had to make presentations about their business plan in front of a panel of business, entrepreneurial and education leaders.
For TMD, earning the $10,000 will help them move forward. Peterson says they have already made a lot of contacts with those who could benefit. This project wasn’t something they came up with in the last two weeks or two months. It’s been in the offing for a while.
“Dylan, Tanner and I did some research on it and we thought it would work,” explains Wass. 
Spetz says for him, the project has been percolating for two years. It wasn’t until this year, when their post secondary education was over and the opportunity came up, that they thought this would work.
“Maybe restoration is the best way to go, with things being like the way they are (job-wise)  maybe we can go about it from an ecological way and maybe we can create this into a business,” says Spetz, who adds he will be talking to those he knows in the agriculture community.
“With this downturn in the economy, maybe we can be the first to do this ... A lot of people want new growth on their land right away.”
For Wilson, his drone/photography/assessment company will assist farmers with crop yields, and identifying areas of drought, insects and other potential environmental issues.
“Medicine Hat is highly involved in agriculture, the Maple Creek area — I thought they might benefit from this technology,” explains Wilson. “They will be able to scan crops for example and seeing their fields from a particular different angle ... They can check crop variations on the land and realize what needs to be done in order to control insects and use certain pesticides or fertilizers.”
While Wilson admits agriculture wasn’t something he grew up with, he happily became fully educated in it and is excited to help.
Wilson wasn’t exactly sure, but he says he’s one of the few who will be fully licensed by Transport Canada to fly drones. He will be fully-sanctioned for the rural area starting June 1 and is unsure of the complete timeline for the urban area.
For more information, on TMD Seed check out their Facebook page at TMD Seed or their Twitter account at @TMD_Seeds.
For more on WilsonTech, contact Wilson by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see the website at:
Note: also receiving grants were Justine Mann of Little Owl Learning Centre, a licensed childcare business and Beth Fodor the owner of E. Marie Photography, a photography company.

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Ryan Dahlman

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