CSU announces new Master of Agribusiness and Food Innovation Management program at Spur campus in Denver

A man and a woman working with a clipboard in a field of crops

Beginning Fall 2022, students can enroll in CSU’s new Master of Agribusiness & Food Innovation Management (MAFIM). The face-to-face program will be hosted at the new Spur Campus at the National Western Center in Denver.

Sustainable solutions to food supply issues

Opportunities have never been so abundant for creative innovation and transformation in the agriculture and food industries. As the global population grows, companies, governments, and other agencies are actively seeking solutions that will provide sustainable, environmentally responsible, and scalable solutions to ensure a sufficient food supply. At the same time, grassroots movements seek to strengthen local food systems and empower social and cultural change in the way that people understand, access, and consume food. The Agribusiness & Food Innovation program lays the groundwork for students to tackle food system problems with a creative, interdisciplinary, and collaborative approach. 

Drive innovation and growth in Colorado’s agricultural and food industries

Designed for professionals from a variety of academic, business, and personal backgrounds, the Master of Agribusiness & Food Innovation Management is an intensive, immersive experience that will develop the creative and business skills needed to drive innovation and development of new enterprises in today’s agricultural and food industries.

Gregory Graff, Ph.D., and Gregory Perry, Ph.D., professors in CSU’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the two faculty members leading the new program at Spur, explained some potential benefits of the MAFIM degree for food systems in Colorado.

“Colorado is one of the national hot spots for food system venture capital investment, with many food system enterprises of various sizes operating within the state,” said Graff.

Man working with a laptop in a wheat field

“Our program supports Colorado food systems in a couple of ways,” explained Perry. “First, we train students and give them the education, hands-on experience and networking opportunities that will prepare them well to land jobs with established businesses, or alternatively, launch their own enterprise. Second, we develop connections with food system businesses large and small so they can benefit from the work of our students and identify potential future employees.”

The new MAFIM program prepares students well for a future career in food systems. Over 16 months, students engage in a combination of coursework, active networking, and practical experience, pursuing either a Venture Creation or Corporate Partnership track. The program provides training and hands-on experience in developing and launching new products, technologies, and businesses. Students will achieve practical outcomes and move forward in their careers with new relationships, skills, and knowledge that will make them highly competitive innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders.

a diverse group of students working together

A master’s degree like no other

“The need for a program like this is really national,” said Perry.

Perry explained the need for a master’s degree focused on both entrepreneurship and food systems. Many schools offer MBA programs with entrepreneurship specializations or Masters of Entrepreneurship degrees, although these are less common. Additionally, Masters of Agribusiness programs are available at universities around the nation, combining MBA-style training with a focus on agricultural economics.

However, before the launch of the new program at Spur, no single program offered a master’s degree with a focus on entrepreneurship within the ag sector.

“We would be the first,” said Perry.

The program is also innovative in its focus around a practicum experience. Currently, no other College of Agricultural Sciences offers a program with a practicum, making the MAFIM the first of its kind.

artist's rendering of the new Spur campus in Denver

Learn by doing at CSU Spur

The new CSU Spur campus is an adventure in education, bringing learning to life in its three buildings focused on water, food, and health. Spur is more than a physical location – it’s a hub – a network to connect people across the state, region, and world.

After the first semester, students spend the next 12-18 months engaging with inventors and companies in the region through venture practicum projects. Working in a cohort model, students gain hands-on experience while determining the viability of a new business idea, taking it through development, and helping launch the business.

Over 150 years of expertise

Master of Agribusiness & Food Innovation students will study with expert faculty from CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences, an academic entity that has thrived since the University’s founding in 1870. Since then, the College has produced and continues to produce, leaders capable of solving local and global challenges in agriculture and the natural environment.

Interested in launching your career in food systems with CSU? Learn more, talk to a student success coach, and begin your application.