Welcoming all Vermont Entrepreneurs & Small Business Owners

Of the nearly 80,000 small businesses in Vermont, 61,921 of those are ONE person businesses: the solo-preneur. And thousands more are two or three people. 

This day is for YOU.

Map out your day with information and networking that matters to you. Our speakers will deliver information tailored for teams of one to three people.

  • Funding, Marketing, and Legal Workshops
  • Networking with small business resources
  • Lunchtime Table Talks
  • Inspiring keynote speakers at the beginning and end of the day


Set Your Course to Judd Hall at the Vermont State University in Randolph Center VT to spend the day with us.
– 8 a.m. Registration opens and QuickConnect resources available
– 9 a.m. Welcome and morning keynote
– 10 a.m. Morning Workshop 1
– 11 a.m. Morning Workshop 2
– 12 p.m. Lunch in the Vermont State University Dining Hall and Table Talks
– 1:45 p.m. Afternoon Workshops and QuickConnect
– 2:45 p.m. Closing keynote

This event is hosted by the Community Navigator Pilot Program’s (CNPP) partners who have joined together to support the growth of small businesses in Vermont, and to ensure that every small business owner knows about and has access to the services and support available to help you succeed.

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance of this event. Language assistance services are available for this event through the smartphone app Interprefy. Contact Sara Munro at smunro@vtsbdc.org or 802-431-8100 for accommodation requests or if you have any questions.

This event is made possible by our generous sponsors and the Community Navigator Pilot Program funded (in part) by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Visit: https://www.vtsbdc.org/community-navigator-pilot-program-cnpp/ for more information.

Things to know before you go:

  • arrive when you can, but please slip in quietly if workshops are in session
  • please keep cell phones on vibrate
  • dress is comfortable, business casual

North by Northeast Speakers & Workshops


Building a community among Vermont’s entrepreneurs

Rajnii Eddins

Start the day with our opening speaker, Vermont poet Rajnii Eddins.

MORNING WORKSHOPS: 10 a.m. & 11 a.m.

Choosing the Right Legal Structure for Your Business

Vermont Law & Graduate School Team

What are the options in Vermont for setting up an entity for your business, and what kind of structure will work best for you and your goals? The answer is unique for every business. The Vermont Law and Graduate Entrepreneurial Legal Lab team will explore the different reasons businesses might pick a particular kind of legal form or entity, and how that choice impacts the business’s legal structure and protections.

Understanding Business Insurance

Karianne Scott

Sole-proprietors and small businesses have different needs for insurance coverage. Learn what types of insurance are available and how to choose what is right for you.

  • What is business insurance, and why do you need it?
  • Key benefits of business insurance
  • Types of Business Insurance
  • How to assess your insurance needs and budget
  • Tips for choosing an agent and policy and mistakes to avoid

Demystifying Access to Capital: Types of Capital Providers & Business Planning for Capital 101

Juan Adorno

Access to capital is among the top priorities for USA Small Businesses so let’s demystify access to capital. Who are capital providers to small businesses? What are their business requirements for funding? How do we – as business owners – prepare our businesses to be positioned for capital?   

This workshop will provide an overview on the world of capital, with some focus on loan capital, and highlight business fundamentals that must be in place to be positioned to request capital. This presentation will also provide market insights regarding the current banking and macro environment as it relates to access to capital.

Grow (and Maintain) Your Social Media Marketing

Danielle McLin

Social media is an essential tool for business but much of the advice is for large teams. Danielle will offer practical strategies and resources to help you grow and maintain your accounts as a solo-preneur or small team. She will share her hands-on experience and provide you with the information and tools you need to develop an effective social media marketing strategies.

Mental Focus for Entrepreneurs

Porter Knight

The hours in a day are finite yet the demands on your time as a small business owner seem limitless. It’s hard to effectively get your work done when you are pulled in so many different directions. But you can train yourself to keep your brain in the game, even in stressful situations.   

This workshop will show you how to improve and protect your mental focus by:

  • Recognizing how your brain responds to action and stress.
  • Identifying consequences of distraction and multitasking and developing skills to offset those impacts.
  • Applying strategies to prepare your brain to function effectively and boost focus throughout the day to improve productivity and reduce overwhelm and burnout.

When you can keep your focus in the face of many demands, you can perform better and feel better every day.

More than Money: What your 81-year old self wants you to know about your future

Sara Kermenski

You may decide to slow down or stop working, and sometimes the decision is made for you. Whether it’s a loved one that requires your care, taking care of your own health, or making space for a new chapter, it’s not too late to start.

Learn what to expect and how to prepare when it comes to income, taxes, investments, protection and lifestyle.

Key takeaways:

  • Inspiration for steady progress
  • Steps to get on track for the future
  • Ideas to leverage business ownership for your financial progress

More coming soon!


FinTech and Alternative Capital Access for Small Businesses

Sergio Alvares

Juan Adorno

The once bankdominated financial services industry provides critical services to small businesses. Today, the industry has countless alternative service providers. At times, these alternative services and solutions may be more aligned with small businesses’ needs than bank services.

This workshop illustrates how financial technology (FinTech) companies can facilitate capital access in conjunction with other financial service providers such as CDFIs. Such alternative multi-lender deals are particularly useful for businesses without an existing relationship with traditional lenders. The workshop presents how these financial service providers are different from banks, how small businesses can benefit from their services, and what are the risks involved.

Preparing to Fund Your Business

Sara McConnell, BDCC

Preparing requests to fund your business can be a complicated process. Sara will break down the essentials needed for financing, whether that is loans, grants, or other options, so that you are ready when opportunities arise.

You will learn about:

  • Qualifications and required documentation
  • Deciding what options are best for your business at each stage
  • Resources and technical assistance available

Business Essentials – Better Than Basics

Faye Longo, CWE

Join Faye Longo, CNPP Project Manager with Center for Women & Enterprise for this better-than-basics session! As a solopreneur or micro business owner, you are your business and that’s a lot. You have little time to research what is available in the way of support, small business or otherwise. This session is geared to ease some of that navigation, get you connected to relevant resources, and help you make the most of your precious time!

This session will introduce you to:

  • who can I go to for what,
  • what kinds of services and supports can I access for free or low cost,
  • what opportunities exist to build connections/network,
  • how do I make the most of the resources available?

Attendees will leave this session with at least one actionable next step to support their small business and themselves!

What’s in a Good Contract and Why Do They Go Wrong?

How can businesses make contracts useful tools? Why do contracts go wrong, and what happens when they do? The Vermont Law and Graduate Entrepreneurial Legal Lab team will explain contract basics, when and why to put things in writing, setting customer expectations, and how contracts can protect your business. They will also explain the other side of contracts—what mistakes lead to lawsuits, what happens when someone breaks a contract, and how to navigate disputes.

Selling with Confidence—Essential Sales Steps to Grow Your Business!

Ronda Berns

This presentation addresses five essential sales steps to confidently navigate a sales conversation, be well-received by your prospects, and grow and thrive in your business. Based on a wealth of results-focused experience, this actionable information will provide the steps to effectively sell your product or service, including:

  • How to identify your ideal client
  • How to actively listen to understand what your clients need and want
  • How to research & prepare for successful client meetings, calls, and events
  • How to connect, build rapport & create trust authentically
  • How to qualify a prospect by asking the right questions
  • How to ask for the sale or next step with confidence

QuickConnect & Dessert: 12:30 – 3:00 p.m.

It’s a resource fair with a twist! Being in business for yourself doesn’t have to mean that you are by yourself. Meet people with the services that will help you turn your ideas into a thriving business.


Building & Scaling a Business On Your Terms

Troy Sandidge