ENTR Students Win DIAL Agricultural Innovation Competition

Tushar Sonvani (pictured above)

Tushar Sonvani and Brady Wyniemko, both ENTR students, recently participated in the DIAL Ventures Innovation Challenge and won! DIAL stands for Digital Innovation in Agri-Food Systems Laboratory (www.dialventures.com), which is a Purdue-affiliated venture studio designed to create and de-risk startups in the agriculture sector. Tushar and Brady are currently seniors majoring in Supply Chain Technology. 

The Dial Venture Challenge asks students to create a customer value proposition aligned with one of several agriculture industry challenges. Participants had one week to deliver a 10-minute video and one PowerPoint slide summarizing their idea, and they could seek insight and advice from Dial Innovation Fellows. The winning team receives $4000 and becomes Dial Venture Ambassadors, allowing them to participate in DIAL events.  

Tushar and Brady focused on challenges in building digital infrastructure for the land leasing process, which is pertinent to farmers, land managers and investors. They pitched the need for an end-to-end software solution to connect and share farm data across stakeholder groups. There was a lot of pre-reading that had to be done to understand the needs in this area. Tushar said he would not have been able to develop the idea alone. Today, both he and Brady are engaging with Dial Ventures to better understand the nuanced challenges faced by the agricultural industry.

How did Tushar become so interested in entrepreneurship? He wants to be an entrepreneur and help others achieve their true potential. He was part of the Entrepreneurship Learning Community (ELC) as a freshman. Tushar meshed well with the ELC students, since they were like-minded and challenged him to reach even higher. What amazes him most about the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program is how it brings together the brightest minds from diverse economic, cultural, and religious backgrounds based on their love for entrepreneurship and their passion to build something new.

Tushar’s biggest takeaway from the program is the development of his critical thinking skills. He appreciates that the program focuses as much on the students as the coursework. He has immense respect and gratitude for his entrepreneurship instructors. He feels he has found genuine mentors like Dora Lutz, Chris McEvoy, Mike Casssidy, Greg Finch and Susan Woods. He says his instructors in the ENTR program are awesome and he would not be half the person he is today without them. 

Finally, Tushar encourages more students to enroll in the entrepreneurship program. He advises the incoming students to get involved because it is a way to get to know and connect with people. The Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program is excited to see students such as Tushar and Brady flourishing in the classroom and experiential challenges that benefit the Purdue community and beyond.