Welcome to the Innovate Vermont Help Center.
Find resources that work best for your project or business venture here.
The Innovation Ecosystem is designed to help individuals and businesses advance entrepreneurial activity and to drive innovation throughout Vermont. The Ecosystem is composed of a multitude of programs, providers, and services designed to help at all stages of the innovation process. Whether you’re looking for mentoring or prototyping, capital sources or IP services, the Ecosystem is a network of organizations to help provide support resources.
Welcome to the Innovate Vermont Help Center.
Find resources that work best for your project or business venture here.
As the state’s research university, the University of Vermont (UVM) is key to innovation and business development success in the Green Mountain State. Hosting a world-class medical center and serving nearly 12,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from more than 50 countries, UVM brings in over $120 million each year to support cutting-edge research programs across disciplines, from health to the environment. The campus also maintains a diversity of technical facilities and services, including medical diagnostics, environmental testing, materials fabrication, GIS services, and more. Emerging workforce education programs and high-value professional development courses at UVM are available both on campus and online.
The Vermont Technology Council is a statewide entity that aims to advance science and technology-based economic development. The Council is also charged with creating the State’s Science and Technology plan, designed to recognize strengths within Vermont’s S&T economy, and to create strategies that utilize these strengths to advance ideas and knowledge into products and services. The Technology Council also runs a comprehensive internship program designed to connect employers with employees in the STEM fields.
With a mindset for collaboration, partnerships and shared resources among the region’s business, higher education, and economic development organizations, the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) provides entrepreneurs an unequaled ecosystem and networked infrastructure of people, resources, and capital surrounding new venture creation and growing successful firms in Vermont. VCET is a leading-edge technology business incubator serving all of Vermont. Simply put and relentlessly pursued, our mission is to assist entrepreneurs create next generation jobs for this generation of Vermonters.
The Vermont Seed Capital Fund, which is professionally managed by VCET, is a venture capital fund whose objective is to invest in up-and-coming companies based out of Vermont that show high potential for growth, financial return commensurate with risk, and public benefit for Vermonters. After meeting the eligibility requirements, investment transactions can range from $25,000 to $250,000.
The Castleton Polling Institute was created to provide professional, authoritative public opinion research on custom data queries. Along with providing services tailored to gather and analyze data, the CPI also helps with designing and testing questionnaires, developing focus groups, customer satisfaction surveys, and more.
Efficiency Vermont offers many rebates and incentives to help Vermonters make energy efficiency improvements to their homes and businesses. Reducing the amount of energy you use can help you reduce your impact on the environment and save money on your energy bills. They offer a number of programs to help your small business become more energy efficient.
EPSCoR, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, acts as a way for the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote scientific research and progress in areas of the country with limited capacity to compete for national R&D grants. By providing grant support for federal grant opportunities (such as SBIR/STTR), the research and development infrastructure in our state is strengthened, and allows for greater competitiveness on other national grant opportunities.
Based in Shelburne VT, FreshTracks Capital L.P. manages $25 million in venture capital that is invested with a core focus on Vermont. FreshTracks pursues investing opportunities in high-growth, private companies in the underserved capital markets of Vermont and the adjacent counties of New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. FreshTracks’ investment criteria focuses on the following four primary attributes:
We favor technology-driven businesses because of their potential for creating defensible competitive advantages, and seek out proven, high-performing management teams to lead these companies.
Innovation Engineering is a proven system that transforms innovation from a random art into a reliable, scientific “system” for profitable growth. It creates a culture of never ending innovation within organizations that delivers increased innovation speed (up to 6x) and decreased risk (30 – 80%). The Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) has been an early national Innovation Engineering pioneer since 2006, and is a licensed member of the Innovation Engineering Network.
Housed at the University of Vermont, the Instrumentation and Model Facility (IMF) provides prototyping, modeling, and precision part services to advance research and commercialization. The IMF has worked with innovators and entrepreneurs in hospitals, private business, and higher education for over 40 years. The IMF can now perform prototyping and limited run production services even faster with the addition of a new Polyjet 3D printing system.
North Country Angels (NCA) brings together over 40 successful and experienced entrepreneurs who are active in making early-stage and seed investments in companies located in the northeastern United States. Every month we gather informally to discuss recent news from the investment community, share due diligence activities, build strategic relationships, and review business plans from prospective companies.
The Vermont Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) operates out of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. PTAC was created to help Vermont employers obtain government contracts at local, state, and federal levels. The PTAC team utilizes significant technical assistance expertise to provide knowledge resources and support to employers looking to win government contracts.
The State of Vermont’s 14 counties are split into 12 regional land-use and economic development areas. Each of these geographic areas is served by a Regional Economic Development Corporation (RDC). The RDCs of Vermont work with the high wage, value-adding employers throughout our State to help retain these jobs, grow employment, solve space needs, and support this critical economic infrastructure for Vermont and for Vermonters.
The Vermont Small Business Development Center (SBDC) operates throughout the State as an advisor and low-cost training partner for small businesses. SBDC advisors work directly with small employers and entrepreneurs to help navigate the complex world of growing a successful operation at every step of the process.
Transitioning from a concept to a commercialized product is the difference between a marketable idea and making the first sale. But the process of commercialization can be a daunting gauntlet if you don’t know where to turn first. Legal, professional, technical, and academic support services all combine to help transition intellectual property into marketing, licenses, sales, and revenue.
Vermont has a variety of sources that seek to fit various capital niches along the business growth continuum. The Department of Economic Development (DED), which lies within the Agency of Commerce & Community Development (ACCD), has compiled a list of links to financing sources such as investment opportunities, micro lenders, and local businesses that will assist you in the search for start-up capital, to ensure that every budding business obtains the right capital to reach their full potential in the Green Mountain State.
The Department of Economic Development (DED), which is a part of the ACCD, has compiled a list of all necessary steps and procedures, along with links for each, that an aspiring entrepreneur needs in order to get his or her business rolling. This includes, but is not limited to: workforce recruitment, permits and regulations, taxes, telecommunications, and available commercial real estate in which to locate or grow your business.
The Vermont Department of Labor provides excellent resources for employers to learn more about their local, regional, and state economy. This ranges from current unemployment figures and demographic information, to long-term occupational projections. The VT DOL provides the most up-to-date information on the economic conditions of the state.
The Vermont Department of Labor “Vermont Job Link” provides job seeking and recruitment opportunities for both employers looking to fill in positions at their company, as well as for individuals seeking to be that key asset a business needs to succeed in the Green Mountain State.
For employers with more specific or larger hiring and training needs, the VT DOL provides custom and personalized job-recruitment and job-training services to match the needs of employers with Vermonters.
The Vermont Employee Ownership Center is a statewide non-profit whose mission is to promote and foster employee ownership in order to broaden capital ownership, deepen employee participation, retain jobs, increase living standards for working families, and stabilize communities. We provide information and resources to owners interested in selling their business to their employees, employee groups interested in purchasing a business, and entrepreneurs who wish to start up a company with broadly shared ownership.
The Vermont FabLab is aimed to provide rapid-prototyping tools and services to Vermont Innovators within an environment of collaborative thinking. Operating out of the UVM school of Engineering and Mathematical sciences, the FabLab model has proven to be an entrepreneurial catalyst with the Fablab Consortia out of MIT, providing CAD/CAM software, 3D scanning, 3D printing, test tools for electrical assembly, and more.
Operating statewide as a not-for-profit since 1995, VMEC provides confidential consulting, coaching, hands-on implementation assistance and training on a reasonable fee-for-service basis to help manufacturers grow through innovation, increase productivity, improve their manufacturing and business systems and processes, and improve competitiveness. VMEC also works with selected clients in the healthcare, higher education, government and financial services industries.
The Vermont State College system works to provide high-quality, affordable education throughout the State. Per capita, Vermont has more institutions of Higher Education per capita than any other state; they are available to meet the unique needs of employers, as well as current and future employees. Harnessing the strength of this network and resources is critical to further developing our robust Innovation Ecosystem.
The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) was created to help move Vermont’s green economy forward, and currently provides grant funding, loans, and technical assistance to Vermonters working in a wide variety of green economic sectors. The VSJF runs a Flexible Capital Fund that provides near-equity funding for mostly rural operations, and provides a network of peer-to-peer collaborative to help with sustainable growth of Vermont businesses.
With a focused, hands-on, and applied learning approach to education, taught by faculty who are experts in their field, Vermont Tech offers a unique learning experience to a variety of businesses and employees looking to expand their workforce skills. The Office of Continuing Education & Workforce Development (CEWD) at Vermont Tech provides degree and non-degree programs, workforce education management services, customized training and workforce development in leadership and technical areas, as well as teacher training; all of which can be tailored to meet the individual needs or goals of your company and its employees.
The Vermont Technical College’s Enterprise Center is designed to provide the services necessary to allow small businesses to grow. Offering T-1 lines, video conferencing, and more, the Enterprise Center partners with the Small Business Development Center and the private market to meet the needs of their clients.
The Vermont Technology Alliance (vtTA) is a group of entrepreneurially minded individuals and organizations who work to create a thriving technology ecosystem in Vermont. The vtTA has been active in sponsoring and promoting the Vermont Tech Jam, as well as providing a peer network and informational meetings for members.
The Vermont Venture Network (VVN) is a forum that was created in 1989 with a sole purpose of enhancing the interaction and exchange of ideas among Vermont’s entrepreneurs. Until January 2015, the VVN hosted monthly meetings featuring speakers from Vermont’s business community and finance sources; however, those meetings have been put on hold due to a great number of other similar gatherings in the state. In order to adapt to these changes, the VVN now has a comprehensive calendar of said gatherings/meetings which is easily accessible through their website.
The Generator is a combination of artist studios, a classroom, and a business incubator with goals of fostering creative ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurship. They offer tools and resources such as prototyping, metal work, wood work, microelectronics, and design stations for their members.
The Champlain College truEd Alliances program gives member organizations’ employees access to their online degree programs for 70 percent less than the standard tuition. Champlain will work with your organization to match job competencies with the appropriate online degree or certificate program so that your workforce is better prepared to meet the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.
IWoW: Incubator Without Walls is an alliance and partnership between multiple service providers to increase the availability and quality of work-skills throughout the Northeast Kingdom. Though based out of Lyndon State College, IWoW doesn’t rely on a single location, rather, focuses on developing a network of resources to meet the needs of small business owners.