Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR), in partnership with Reframe Lab, is offering a new FREE program – ClimateReadyVT – designed to help small businesses in Vermont adapt to our changing climate and prepare for the next climate-related business disruption.
As recent years have shown, climate change is affecting businesses in tangible and increasing ways. Warming temperatures, more precipitation, and poor air quality impact outdoor work, outdoor recreation, tourism, farming, and forestry. Climate-related health impacts – including greater risks of heat exposure, infectious diseases, water quality issues, and natural disasters – impact staffing, customers, operations, supply chains, and more.
Small businesses need help!
ClimateReadyVT is designed for small and medium-size Vermont businesses (less than 50 FTE) who want to adapt their business to the changing climate and prepare for the next climate-related business disruption with the support of expert facilitators, a community of peer business owners/managers, leading-edge resources, and a network of business support organizations.
- Complete a customized Climate Risk Assessment for your business
- Identify hazard mitigation strategies specific to your business
- Understand which local, state, and federal resources are available to support your business with resilience
- Understand how legal, financial, and insurance services can assist you, including low and no cost options
- Obtain guidance for supporting the people in your business during climate-related businesses disruptions
- Learn about tools and methods for emotional resilience, mental health, and wellness
- Collaboratively develop a customized “Road Map to Resilience” for your business
What to Expect
- Learn from and with a network of peer Vermont business owners/managers
- Hear from subject matter experts in a variety of relevant areas
- Receive 1:1 counseling sessions and build relationships with technical advisors
- Participate in Case Studies, role play, and disaster preparedness exercises
- Participate in small group learning, including breakout groups organized by business size, industry etc.
- Gain access to a digital resource library (templates; tools; case studies; other)
This program will take place over 9 sessions between November 2023 and April 2024, including 1 in-person session and 8 virtual sessions. In order to get the most out of the program, participants will be asked to complete approximately 4 hours of “homework” in-between sessions.
Session 1: Orientation & Emotional Resilience, Thursday, November 9th 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Session 2: Building Your Roadmap to Resilience: Understanding Exposure, Thursday, December 14th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Session 3: Building Your Roadmap to Resilience: Assessing Risk, Thursday, January 11th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Session 4: Building Your Roadmap to Resilience: Operations, Continuity & Support, Thursday, February 8th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Session 5: Building Your Roadmap to Resilience: Legal, Financial & Insurance, Thursday, February 22nd, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Session 6: Building Your Roadmap to Resilience: Human Resources & Communications, Thursday, March 14th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Session 7: Building Your Roadmap to Resilience: Work Session, Thursday, March 28th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Session 8: Share Your Roadmap to Resilience, Thursday, April 11th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Closing Gathering: Build Connections With Your Resilience Network, Thursday, April 18th, time TBD
- Any business located in Vermont with 50 employees or less (FTE)
- Please note, this program is not appropriate for farm-based businesses. Alternatively, we recommend the UVM Farming & Climate Change program.
Are you interested, but either not eligible or not able to commit this year? Be sure to complete our Interest Form to be contacted about potential future iterations of this program
Each participant in the ClimateReadyVT Program is expected to commit to the following:
- Attend all 9 sessions (8 workshops plus closing event)
- Participate and engage in live web-based Zoom (video) sessions
- Complete approximately 4 hours of “homework” outside of virtual sessions
How to Apply
Eligible businesses should apply here.
- This program is open to any businesses meeting the eligibility criteria above, with priority given to businesses that are by BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and woman owned/managed, as well as those located in rural areas of Vermont.
- Program applications are due Wednesday, November 8, 2023 at 11:59 am ET.
- Questions about your application? Please contact Molly Barfuss (email@example.com) with any questions.
Michelle Hobbs (She/Her)
Michelle Hobbs, partner at Reframe Lab, has over 25 years of experience creating design that inspires engagement and impact for organizations and brands in a variety of sectors. She is passionate about design’s power to enhance understanding, create value, and inspire a better collective future. She partners with teams to harness their most creative ideas and co-create their future path together. The results can take the form of a new team vision, strategic plan, prototypes for new products or services, or process improvements.
Most recently, she worked as sole consultant at New Bleu Works and within the global consulting firm ICF, facilitating innovative design thinking workshops. In these roles, she designed and facilitated online and in-person workshops for human services, energy, environmental, and transportation teams.
Prior to her facilitation work, Michelle spent two decades in corporate branding, marketing communications, and graphic design. She led an in-house creative team at VEIC and managed her own Burlington-based design studio, creating design campaigns for healthcare, specialty foods, and non-profit clients. She currently teaches design at Champlain College and the Community College of Vermont and is a member of the Board of Directors at Sara Holbrook Community Center.
Peter Plumeau, MPA (He/Him)
Peter Plumeau, partner at Reframe Lab, has 30 years of leadership experience, most recently as the CEO and President of EBP US, a professional services firm that partners with public and private clients to make better economic decisions through a sustainability lens. Peter provides a deep understanding of the challenges business leaders encounter in our rapidly-changing world. With a keen eye for identifying emerging disruptions, Peter proactively identifies options and opportunities for organizations to adapt to and lead change in uncharted waters. Peter has provided management and strategic advisory services to over 100 firms, agencies, and organizations across the US and Canada.
Related specifically to climate resilience, Peter developed and facilitated more than a dozen workshops across the US for state and regional planning agencies on integrating climate considerations into infrastructure planning. He also was part of the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) team that facilitated government workshops on climate change and urban sustainability in Nanjing and Shanghai, China. In addition, as a policy advisor for the National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3), Peter advocates for inclusive community investment, championing economic diversity.
Peter also serves as a Board Member of the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, which brings together public and private stakeholders from across the state to facilitate development and adaptation of more sustainable transportation and mobility solutions.
Mascoma Bank was founded in 1899 by community members seeking ways to establish a healthy local economy. For over 120 years, Mascoma Bank’s foundation of mutuality has continued to be a force for positive change supporting communities to reach thriving sustainability. As a Certified B Corporation® we continue on our mission to be Best for the World®, a company where we don’t answer to stockholders, but respond to the needs of our communities, where we also live, work, and play.
Since 1992, VtSBDC has provided professional expertise and friendly guidance to thousands of business owners statewide. Whether an experienced business owner, a first-time entrepreneur, or a student with the spark of an idea, those interested are encouraged to explore the services VtSBDC offers. Their advisors – including industry experts in specialized areas – are experienced business professionals who are deeply committed to working with business owners.
Questions? Please reach out to VBSR Education & Events Manager, Molly Barfuss, firstname.lastname@example.org.