Virtual Community for Entrepreneurs Here to Stay
Launched in response to the pandemic, the Vermont Startup Collective grows members, relevance as business reopens.
Burlington, VT (May 28, 2021) – Since launching in October 2020, the Vermont Startup Collective has seen unexpectedly strong engagement and rapid growth. With a focused virtual space to advance business ideas, learn new skills, and connect with the community, entrepreneurs are able to get the support they need, when they need it most. With over 750 members today, the online community is becoming a center of gravity for entrepreneurs, startups, remote workers, small business owners, freelancers, investors, and mentors in Vermont. So far, 89% of members return regularly and over 50,000 member-to-member interactions have occurred thus far. Membership is free and the community is curated by the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET).
“The Startup Collective is the perfect blend of networking, resources, commiseration, “how to” content, “been there, tried that” experience, collaborative problem-solving, in your face reality, AND passionate dreamers,” said Molly Yanus, founder of Echo Consulting. “It has personally helped me make critical connections and gave me the confidence to commit to an important pivot for my company during a crazy year. I am so impressed and thankful for the amazing teams that came together to make this community a reality for Vermont.”
Born from requests by innovators, consultants, and business leaders seeking connection during COVID-19, the mobile/desktop platform surrounds active and aspiring entrepreneurs and professionals with constructive guidance from advisors and mentors, thought-provoking conversations with peers, and critical tools and resources to start and scale. Supported by more than 40+ Vermont organizations, members of the Collective now have direct access to countless entrepreneurial support organizations and experts from around the State, all in one place.
“The Vermont Startup Collective has put the wisdom, experience, and networks of Vermont entrepreneurs at my fingertips whenever I need it. All I have to do is drop in a question and I know I’ll have a community of knowledgeable people ready and willing to help me out. It honestly makes me feel so much more confident that I’ll reach my goals knowing that my community is there to support me,” said Skylar Bagdon, a student entrepreneur at the University of Vermont.
Thanks in large part to the generosity of the Vermont Community Foundation, who provided a $70,000 supporting grant, the Collective is free of charge and designed to be accessible and inclusive to all, making sure that ALL entrepreneurs, remote workers and innovation participants are getting access to the support that they need. Vermonters are connecting, helping and contributing to one another like never before.
“What began as a “startup idea” to test internally has now scaled into an open, authentic and empowering network for professionals, students and entrepreneurs across Vermont,” said David Bradbury, VCET President. “We are thrilled to see real business owner problems being answered by their peers, investors and experts on a daily basis. The momentum is really encouraging.”
Members can join groups curated by topic, such as Legal, Technical, or Design & Branding, and join relevant “circles” like Tech Founders or Young Professionals. New to the Collective are free, self-guided Courses such as Creating a Family Friendly Workplace, Intro to SEO, and Investing in Your Community. New ideas for Topics, Circles, and Courses can be requested by members at any time.
The website and mobile app have been particularly valuable for entrepreneurs new to Vermont who might not yet know where to turn, first time business owners looking to crowdsource information, and scaling companies like Widewail, Faraday, Greensea Systems, Lift Learning, GPMS International and Beta Technologies looking to hire multiple positions.
To learn more or to join The Collective, please visit www.vermontstartupcollective.com