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 CNPP hub, Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC), and spoke organizations participated in a compelling and uplifting discussion about how the program is supporting Vermont’s marginalized populations including BIPOC, rural, veterans, and women. Mr. Madrid shared results and stories from the CNPP programs nationwide.
“The strength of our CNPP lies with the partners who were around the table,” explained Sara Munro, CNPP Program Coordinator at VtSBDC. “While we have unique elements in our Vermont program, we are part of a national network of services committed to change so that we connect with business owners who have been left out and left behind.”
The roundtable discussion shared the progress Vermont’s CNPP organizations have made to:
- Provide access to justice for business owners through legal education and legal support
- Hear from BIPOC, women, veteran, and rural Vermonters about their experiences and challenges in starting and building businesses
- Support our youngest entrepreneurs with funding their high school entrepreneurship education projects
- Successful projects funded through technical assistance
Pictured: Becky Killian, CWE, Wang, Nicole Killoran, VT Law & Graduate School, and Linda Rossi, VtSBDC]
Photo credit: Daniel Monaghan, U.S. Small Business Administration, Vermont District Office.
Mr. Madrid shared his experiences with business owners through his career and expressed how he wished CNPP had been available to them.
Faye Longo, CNPP Project Manager from CWE VT, was inspired by Mr. Madrid’s suggestion to, “find a way to tell the generational story of the work we’re doing now, and how this work will ripple out over generations.” She cited as an example a new American who was able to start their business (thanks to support from CNPP) is now able to send their children to college.
The roundtable participants included:
- Mark Madrid,Associate Administrator for the Office of Entrepreneurial Development (OED) at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Preston Hardge, Senior Advisor, OED-US SBA
- Darcy Carter, District Director of SBA VT
- Linda Rossi, State Director, VtSBDC
- Sara Munro, Project Coordinator, CNPP/VtSBDC
- Gwen Pokalo Hart, VP of Policy and Interim Director of VT CWE
- Becky Kilian, CWE
- Faye Longo, CWE
- Weiwei Wang, Vermont Professionals of Color Network
- Krystal Sanchez-Williams, Vermont Professionals of Color Network
- Nicole Killoran, Vermont Law & Graduate School
- Pacifique Nsengiyumva, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity
- Rachel Goldstein, Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity
- Morgan Nichols,formerly of Main Street Alliance, presently Office of US Rep. Becca Balint
- Danny Monahan, SBA VT
“For our CNPP team, it was a pleasure to meet Mr. Madrid and to share stories about the collective impact the program is having on Vermont’s small business community,” said Munro, program coordinator for CNPP. “We look forward to continuing to reach out to the entrepreneurs and small business owners with our shared resources, and to supporting them in their goals.”
CNPP is funded (in part) through a grant with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Learn more at www.vtsbdc.org/find-cnpp/.