Inspiring Entrepreneurs

Uplifting stories from the Community Navigator Pilot Program’s connections

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From Chocolate to Chili Peppers

5 minute read Butterfly Bakery of Vermont Finds Inspiration in the Working Landscape What do goat’s milk caramel, ginger cashew granola, maple hot sauce, and raspberry almond cookies all have in common? Aside from the fact that they’re all made at Butterfly Bakery of Vermont, there is a common thread. “Everything we make is inspired by Vermont’s working […]

Letting his voice be heard: From commercials to videos, Kris Brown creates the sounds for many small businesses

3 minute read Against a backdrop of a 10,000-sticker collage in his studio, voiceover artist Kris Brown’s radio-perfect voice resonates deeply across the airwaves. He explains that his journey to this career didn’t come early – in fact, it took years of hearing compliments about his voice before he decided to make a career of it and start […]

Knitting a Business Together

7 minute read Junction Fiber Mill founders blend quality and tradition with the “punk rock side of knitting” at their custom processing mill in Vermont.  By Emily Bradbury Peggy Allen likes to knit. Amanda Kievet likes to knit. The two met over a skein of yarn Peggy was selling at the Norwich Farmers Market in 2018 and struck […]

Creating a Regional Food System, One Warehouse at a Time

6 minute read Food Connects in Brattleboro, Vt. is among a group of New England food hubs that are building a sustainable, regional supply chain. Richard Berkfield, executive director of Food Connects, has a vision that someday soon, Vermont farmers and food producers will be able to supply more food to more people in the region. In doing […]

Scaling Back to Find Success

3 minute read For Bobolink Yarns founder Katie Sullivan, letting go of her big idea was the best business decision she made. By Kelly Nottermann, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund “I think we’re done,” Katie Sullivan, owner of Bobolink Yarns in Irasburg Vermont, told her business coach in January 2023. Carolyn Cooke agreed. “She did the work, followed every […]

Driving it forward: Energy, inspiration, and persistence fuel Burlington Trolley Tours

4 minute read Excitement is building around the upcoming opening of Burlington Trolley Tours, an 18-month journey defined by partners Hannington Kasagga, Barbara Asiimwe, and Catherine Turyamureeba as a pivotal “learning experience.”  After migrating to the U.S. and moving to Vermont where they became friends at their workplace, the three colleagues wanted to do something on their own. […]

Access to Justice… Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Entrepreneurial Legal Lab (VLSell) supports small businesses and startups statewide

3 minute read For many, lawyers and the law can be scary and unfamiliar. The legal landscape may seem inaccessible, and unrepresentative of the people it serves. Finding a lawyer may be challenging, and the process can be expensive. These challenges are even more pronounced for business owners from BIPOC, women-owned, veterans, and rural communities. Vermont Law and […]

Committed to Change: Community Navigators Meet with SBA’s Mark Madrid

2 minute read Vermont’s Community Navigator Pilot Program (CNPP) team showcased our program to Mark Madrid, Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development (OED) at the U.S. Small Business Administration on Feb. 27, 2023.  Mr. Madrid was welcomed by Gwen Pokalo Hart, VP of Policy and Interim Director of VT CWE and roundtable host. Members from the […]

Lunch with Lenders: Connecting Funding to Small Business Ideas

2 minute read Starting a conversation about a business idea can be a daunting task. If you add on to this a lack of experience in business, and a lack of knowledge of how U.S. loans and banking works, the mountain can seem too high to climb. These barriers are what inspired our Community Navigator network and the […]

Open the Door to a Brighter Day: Vivid colors and a warm welcome await at Sudie’s

3 minute read “I could not have done this without the help of the Community Navigator Pilot Program. This program has been such a relief…I no longer have to worry about having the tools that I need to improve my business, and it has already made a huge difference for me and for my customers.” -Sudie Watson A […]

Main Wellness Works

< 1 minute read Heather H. Main, M.Ed., has been sharing and educating on health education and fitness since 1989.  She opened Main Wellness Works in 2002 and focuses on personal fitness in her private South Burlington fitness studio, and brings fitness and health promotion to workplaces in Vermont and beyond.  The challenge of communicating with clients due to […]

Igniting the Spark: Alpenglow Fitness tells their story through photos & video

< 1 minute read “This program really lit a fire for me. It’s really shifted something in my spirit about going from feeling dread all of the time to feeling more defiant and hopeful.” Sky Barsch, Owner, Alpenglow Fitness, Montpelier VT From a difficult start… Purchasing a new business brings many challenges, but Sky Barsch faced one of the […]

Everlasting Herb Farm

2 minute read Wendy Mackenzie’s Everlasting Herb Farm has brought many beautiful personal care products to the Vermont Country Store in an exclusive sales relationship. She now works to focus her line specifically on natural deodorants which she manufactures and sells online and in stores. Community Navigator leads to multiple pathways for growth With the CNPP funding, Wendy […]

Dust and Form

< 1 minute read Brielle Rovito of Dust & Form creates sculptures using some of Vermont’s beautiful natural materials: granite, and marble. By 2019 she had expanded her studio and begun to take on wholesale orders, expanding into mass manufacturing of her pieces. In February 2020, Brielle attended a large NYC trade show and was blown away by orders […]

VPA mini-monies help Enosburg Falls students launch essential oils business

2 minute read Cold Hollow Career Center students Ellaina Murphy, Emily Noel and Destiny Benware are three of Enosburg Falls’ newest entrepreneurs. With the help of their teacher, Sarah Jo Marcotte, they each created a line of skin and home care products made with essential oils. With $2,500 in funding, they designed their own products, marketed them to […]

The MINT: Rutland’s Makerspace

2 minute read A community supporting the community:  On a quiet side road near downtown Rutland, a 14,500-square foot building houses The MINT, Rutland’s Makerspace. Once inside, there is a bustling hive of activity and creativity where members learn and practice their craft, and often their livelihood. The space opens to a vast variety of shops: wood, pottery, […]

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