With Startups on the Rise, VCET Expands Support for Entrepreneurs

New board members, statewide platforms bring expertise to more entrepreneurs.

Burlington, VT (November 12, 2020) – To deepen support for the 250-plus startups and entrepreneurs served in 2020, the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) expanded its board of directors to include three entrepreneurial leaders with expertise in driving innovation and deep ties to economic development in Vermont. The announcement comes on the heels of the launch of the Vermont Startup Collective earlier this month.

Lisa Groeneveld, cofounder of OnLogic; Rob Foregger, cofounder of NextCapital; and Naila Jahan, Middlebury alumnae and Director of Strategic Initiatives at MassChallenge join the VCET board bringing a range of experiences as founders and entrepreneurs.

“Laser focus on the entrepreneur is core to our mission,” said Sam Roach-Gerber, vice president of VCET. “Lisa, Rob and Naila broaden that perspective and voice at the board level.”

Evolving Support for Entrepreneurs
According to the organization’s 2020 impact report, VCET directly assisted 259 startups and entrepreneurs in the fiscal year 2020, bringing the total number served in Vermont to 2,392. VCET’s 59 lifetime “portfolio” companies have cumulatively generated $221 million in sales, $191 million in payroll, and attracted $250 million in capital.

Key to their continued ability to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, says Roach-Gerber, is continual assessment of their programing and services.

“These are dynamic times,” she said, “We had 100 new inbounds from startups in the first 100 days of the pandemic. VCET is about people, places, and capital, but we’ve had to evolve in response to the conditions under which businesses are starting and scaling today.”

Expanding the board, says Roach-Gerber, is just one example of how VCET is building new supports for entrepreneurs. On October 15, VCET along with 35 partner organizations launched the Vermont Startup Collective, a dedicated virtual space for building community, advancing business ideas, and connecting with other startups, remote workers, small business owners, freelancers, investors, and mentors. The Collective now has over 400 members.

New Board Member Bios
Lisa Groeneveld is an entrepreneur and active adviser to both Vermont and national organizations. The cofounder of OnLogic, Lisa is a Barre, Vermont native and graduate of Northeastern University. She serves as a Champlain College emeritus trustee, a mentor at the Center for Women & Enterprise, and is on the board of advisors for Intel Channel.

Rob Foregger is a serial financial services/technology founder in Vermont, and a UVM alumnus. Co-founder of NextCapital, Rob is a frequent mentor and adviser to Vermont entrepreneurs. His company has directly experienced VCET’s client advisory work, it’s coworking hub and seed capital program.

Naila Jahan serves as Director of Strategic Initiatives for MassChallenge and its global accelerator programs. Naila is a 2015 graduate of Middlebury College, a former VCET and EPSCoR Fellow, and was the first Presidential Fellow in Innovation at Middlebury College.

For more information, visit www.vcet.co

Media Contact:
David Bradbury, President
Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET)
(802) 253-6843