Plans for Business Resilience & Empowerment Program underway: SBA awards grant to the Vermont Small Business Center (VtSBDC) to support resiliency for Vermont’s small businesses
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Photo Credit: WCAX

RANDOLPH CENTER, Vt. (March 1, 2024) – Linda Rossi, State Director of the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC), has announced that VtSBDC has been awarded a one-year, $100,000 Portable Assistance Grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) dedicated to funding a comprehensive Business Resilience & Empowerment Program and accompanying Guide. 

The Program and Guide will be available to Vermont’s businesses, communities, and service organizations that are engaged in a collaborative, statewide approach to building resilience for natural disasters, climate change, and other threats to the business community including cyber and fraud.

“We have seen an increase in the level of trauma and lack of a feeling of control in business owners as more outside conditions affect their business,” Rossi explained.  “The timing of the July 2023 floods came as business owners were still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. They are exhausted and experiencing burnout, dealing with supply chain and inflationary impacts, and unsure how to run their business with higher debt that was acquired during the pandemic. This sense of helplessness is debilitating and can be a threat to Vermont’s economy.”

For new businesses and potential startups, there will be tools in place to build in resilience from the beginning, rather than waiting for disaster to strike. For existing business owners, a host of tools will provide a renewed sense of control. 

The “resiliency tool kit” will include interconnected flowcharts and roadmaps to navigate their current situation with clear steps to reset and apply core business fundamentals. Additional deliverables include accompanying videos for easy walk-through of the charts, webinars and PowerPoints for each flowchart, a “how-to” use individually or as a group, a printed version, and a series of in-person or virtual group workshops.

The program will serve all counties within the state of Vermont, aligned with the highest degree of outreach in the communities hardest hit with economic devastation following the summer 2023 flooding.