Bulletion board with post it notes containing words for business planning.
Updated: November 28, 2023
By Ginger S. Myers

Thinking about starting or expanding an agricultural or food-related business but not sure where to start?

Book an entrepreneurial coaching session with The University of Maryland’s Entrepreneurial Coaching Team for farm and food entrepreneurs.

Business development can be challenging and sometimes you need someone to give you guidance, resources, or to just listen to your ideas or roadblocks. Entrepreneurial coaching provides you with a trained, impartial coach that will be a sounding board for your ideas, share time-saving resources, and sharpen your focus on reaching business goals. 

Coaching provides a deeper, more productive conversation with the clear goal and steps for helping launch or grow your business idea. The University of Maryland Extension has trained business coaches that are familiar with the ins and outs of agricultural and food-related businesses. 

UMD Extension coaches have expertise across a wide range of topics including urban agriculture, food safety, business planning, small and large farm enterprise, marketing, crop and livestock management and more.  Meet our coaches to find the right coach for you!

An Entrepreneurial Coaching session is free of charge and all individuals interested in growing their businesses are invited to participate. Set your course for success and book today! 

Entrepreneurs question the status quo; they recognize opportunities for addressing needs, problems, and wants that others may not see. They are the backbone of every community’s economy.”

Register for a Coaching Session

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, award number 2021-49400-35619.

Meet Our Coaches

Shannon Dill
Extension Educator, Talbot County 


Neith Little
Extension Educator, Baltimore City (Temporarily not taking clients until the end of the Beginning Farmer Course in April. Clients can make appointments with other coaches until that time.)



Shauna C Henley
Extension Educator, Baltimore County


Jesse Ketterman
Extension Educator, Allegany County 


Haley Sater
Extension Educator, Wicomico County

Kelly Nichols
Extension Educator, Montgomery County 


Sarah Hirsh
Extension Educator, Somerset County


Dwayne Joseph
Extension Educator, Kent County

Nathan Glenn 
Extension Educator, Howard

Mark Townsend
Extension Educator, Frederick County

Explore the Cultivating Entrepreneurship Module

Coaching Assistance Program

The University of Maryland’s Entrepreneurial Coaching Team for farm and food entrepreneurs has virtual appointments available. Each appointment is scheduled for 45 minutes. You will meet with your coach in a virtual meeting room using Zoom.

What to Expect: 

  • Meet with trained Extension Educators on a variety of business and agricultural topics
  • One on one discussion of business ideas, next steps, and recommendations
  • Access to resources, contacts, and information
  • A relationship with a trusted advisor as you develop your business

Coaching sessions are designed to:

  • Assist with starting a business
  • Find resources needed
  • Take the next steps in business development
  • Modify or develop a business and marketing plan
  • Understand the regulations required 
  • And more……

Our coaches are experienced, supportive and accessible! They can provide information, connections and support for your enterprise!

How to Schedule 

  1. Review coaches' bios and find a coach that is the best fit for your entrepreneurial needs
  2. Complete an intake form by clicking on the Register for a Coaching Session below. This information is confidential and provides us with your contact information and a little about your ideas and goals.
  3. After you complete the intake form a coach will be in contact with you shortly to schedule your virtual session.  

Register for a Coaching Session

The University of Maryland’s Entrepreneurial Coaching Team for farm and food entrepreneurs has virtual appointments available. Each appointment is scheduled for 45 minutes. You will meet with your coach in a virtual meeting room using Zoom. Please complete a brief intake form so your coach can be better prepared to discuss your unique situation. Once you submit the form a coach will be in contact with you to schedule your virtual appointment. 

Best wishes for a successful enterprise!

Register for a Coaching Session

Technology Requirements for a Virtual Coaching Session

When you schedule a session, you will receive a link to join Zoom. There are visual resources to share with so we prefer logging in on your computer or phone app. However, if for some reason this isn't working for you, use the call-in option below.  Zoom does require software, so if you plan to use your phone you will need to download the app. IT app can be obtained by going to the Apple App Store or Google Play.  If using your computer, click the link to join Zoom, you will be prompted to download the software.  A high-speed internet connection, speakers, and microphone (or phone) will be needed to have a successful coaching experience.

  • Windows: If you plan to join the meeting using Internet Explorer, we recommend having ActiveX enabled. If you plan to join the meeting using Firefox or Chrome, we recommend having Java installed and enabled in your browser.
  • Mac OS X: Make sure that Java is installed and enabled in your browser.  If you are using Safari, make sure that plugins are enabled as well. Once connected you will be prompted to connect audio speakers and microphone.


If you have a problem enrolling in a coaching product please send an email to entrecoach@umd.edu describing the issue and a phone number where you can be reached.


Growing Your Business

These resources will help direct entrepreneurs towards the ‘Next Steps” for planning and launching their new ideas.  Resources for financing and risk management are also found throughout this website.

Successful businesses require thoughtful time and planning  Writing a business plan for a new venture can cost you time upfront but save you many dollars in the long run. You will find the tools for business planning, a business plan template, and several enterprise assessment tools on this site under the ‘Dream, Plan, Implement’ section.

Explore Resources on the Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center

Other Resources: