a harvester drives through a field of golden wheat

WashU students work with local ag tech accelerator

Students in Olin’s CELect course put their entrepreneurship skills to use, helping The Yield Lab collect and report environmental, social and economic data to investors.

Olin Business School’s Center for Experiential Learning Entrepreneurial Consulting Team (CELect) program is an integral part of the vibrant St. Louis startup community. CELect teams are drawn from students across WashU’s campuses, and the class is taught at the T-REX technology incubator downtown. Local startups from Greetabl to Sparo Labs are capitalizing on the opportunity to engage with these WashU student-led consulting teams.

This past semester in the 14-week CELect course, law students Harshil Shukla and Spenser Owens teamed up with undergraduate business students Kyle Birns and Josh Moskow to assist The Yield Lab, a local agricultural technology accelerator. The students’ job was to help identify meaningful ways of collecting and reporting environmental, social, and economic impact metrics to investors.

The companies in The Yield Lab’s portfolio receive funding and business mentoring in the hopes of creating innovative solutions that increase agricultural yields, boost efficiency, or both. The portfolio is diverse and ranges from companies like Holganix, which produces a product promoting plant health and sustainable soils, to Aptimmune, a pharmaceutical company that specializes in the development and application of prophylactic measures against viral diseases of swine.

Recently, Yield Lab has expanded its operations overseas to Galway, Ireland and admitted three new startup companies into its accelerator program. They are currently partnering with 15 startups, each geared toward the end goal of a healthier and more sustainable future. 

Students in CELect consult for various St. Louis startups from around the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The course includes students from the MBA and JD programs, as well as Undergraduate Business, Engineering, and Arts & Sciences. Since 2014, 90 WashU students have consulted for 23 clients in the CELect program.

Read more in the Olin blog.