Having a great, groundbreaking idea is not the only ingredient necessary to become a successful entrepreneur. There are also many logistical concerns that need to be addressed.
To help meet those needs, the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, VCET, recently announced new partnerships with five innovation hubs to boost startups, innovation and localized economic development throughout the state. The #ScaleHere platform, which is what the new initiative is called, will provide a boost using resources they have gathered in nearly 15 years of work to new companies outside of the greater Burlington and Middlebury areas.
VCET has been helping start-ups get off the ground in Vermont since 2005, working with entrepreneurs to develop concepts, grow teams, craft business models, procure resources and find early customers. VCET@Midd, is located in a renovated historic courthouse in Middlebury offering flexible workspace, a conference room, and common areas. Their partnership with Middlebury College creates an opportunity for community members and current and former entrepreneurial students to connect and collaborate.
“Economic development used to be here or there, but today, it’s here and there,” said David Bradbury, VCET President. “The #ScaleHere platform shares expert advice, business mentoring and deeply discounted technology services to members in these innovation centers that can exceed $100,000 in support per company.”
In addition to VCET’s three innovation hubs in Burlington and Middlebury, the new sites include: Do North Coworking, Lyndonville; The Space on Main, Bradford; The Mint, Rutland; Black River Innovation Campus (BRIC), Springfield; and The Lightning Jar, Bennington. Eligible members in these innovation hubs now have free access to a larger network of resources to help them start and grow their businesses. The #ScaleHere platform also brings valuable financial incentives such as SaaS (software as a service) partner program discounts, up to $100k in cloud credits, and $20k in fee-free payment processing.
“The #ScaleHere platform is another example of how Vermonters are working together to reverse our declining workforce trends,” said Michael Schirling, Vermont Secretary of Commerce. “Our rural communities and city centers coming together to share resources, lower costs, connect with area colleges, and ultimately aid our state’s entrepreneurs will help the companies of tomorrow take root and grow in Vermont.”
Since launching at the University of Vermont, VCET has earned national recognition for its impact advancing Vermont’s technology ecosystem through strategic curation of people, places and capital, leading to business growth and investments in the local economy.
The Vermont Technology Council has provided support for this initiative along with VCET’s other key partners such as U.S. Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Middlebury College, The University of Vermont, Consolidated Communications, Champlain College, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Norwich University. “After about a year of testing the concept and serving companies in rural Vermont, we are ready to make this part of #ScaleHere public and launch with these initial Vermont communities,” said Bradbury. “#ScaleHere is not a wishful idea or unproven concept, these program benefits are active now in serving companies starting and scaling across Vermont. And, that feels pretty great.”