With Gratitude & Grit

By VCET President David Bradbury

With Thanksgiving approaching, I am tempted to fixate on things broken (our oven, national politics, the homlessness crisis, etc) or the never ceasing things that frustrate our daily lives (9 months for a dental appointment, replacement part shortages, frozen Zoom meetings, gas prices, delayed mountain opening, etc). But, what fun is that? 

So, when looking between the broken and the frustrating, I am lucky to witness hope, intelligence, grit and magic among the doers, makers, innovators and builders starting and scaling companies among our Green Mountains. It is truly a jaw dropping inspiration. Just over the last few months, we have backed a diverse set of technology founders who have launched things like a NFT / crypto marketplace, building foundational technology for this little thing called the Metaverse and opening clinical mRNA manufacturing facilities too – all here in Vermont. Other portfolio companies and coworkers have led true advances in space, aviation, energy, digital marketing, telemedicine, education and visual journalism. Simply awe inspiring all of them for what they do, risk, and work at daily. 

Networks and talent are where there is also great hope and movement. A year ago, the Vermont Startup Collective was piloted to connect founders with other founders, professionals to remote workers and support organizations to entrepreneurs. With over 900 members today, this organically grown, evolving business and professionals network is soon to be Vermont’s largest business organization. Today, more talented people live here in Vermont than ever before in history (yes, I made this claim up, so prove me wrong). They are available, wicked smart, experienced, kind and hungry to help, share, guide and advise this current generation of business owners and operators. This mentor network remains our secret weapon whose volunteer value for founders is #priceless. If in need of help, just ask. 

So tomorrow when shuttling our turkey across town to a neighbor’s house (remember my broken oven), I will remind myself of all these amazing people and companies among the persistently broken and frustrating things in life. And, be thankful for all we enjoy and have, be actively helpful to others and with humility show continued gratitude and grit for the year ahead. 

Together, we get to build the future we want with intention and purpose.