20 VT entrepreneurs accepted into executive-level training course

Twenty entrepreneurs throughout the state have been selected to participate in a free business course starting April 21 at Vermont Technical College in Williston, Vt. Emerging Leaders is a Small Business Administration training program specifically tailored for entrepreneurs looking to grow their small businesses. The program includes approximately 100 hours of classroom time, connects small business owners with a network of industry experts and peers, and assists with the creation of a three-year strategic growth action plan.

Vermont Technical College is the educational partner of the SBA’s Emerging Leaders program and the program is taught by Prof. Allan Rodgers, VTC Professor of Business.

“I look forward to being the instructor throughout the program and am committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve their next level of success. The curriculum transforms the way one thinks about business,” said Rodgers. Prior to teaching, Rodgers was a small business owner himself who founded and operated Engineered Thermal Systems, Inc., a manufacturer of automotive components.

The SBA established the Emerging Leaders program in 2008 to assist entrepreneurs in urban communities, but in 2016 the agency determined the program could benefit rural states such as New Hampshire and Vermont.  This is the program’s second year in Vermont.

“I knew if Vermont was ever selected to host the program it would be successful, but I had no idea it would garner this level of interest or support. In a little over a year, we’ve had nearly 150 businesses from every corner of the state apply.  Much of that has to do with our mission partners encouraging small business owners to apply because they see how Emerging Leaders can help small businesses grow in Vermont,” said Darcy Carter, SBA Vermont District Director.

Vermont’s graduates will be assessed annually for three years upon completing the program. The 2015 national assessment showed graduates of the program increased their businesses revenue on average by $362,000 and experienced a 39 percent growth rate after one year of completing the program.

Emerging Leaders is for established business owners and is not for start-ups or people who are thinking about starting a business. There are no restrictions on the types of businesses that can participate.

To be considered, firms must be for-profit enterprises, been in business for at least three years, have at least one full time employee other than self, and have annual revenues between $400,000 and $10 million. The majority of Vermont businesses selected for the 2017 class have annual revenues in excess of $1 million.

VBSR is a proud sponsor of The Vermont Emerging Leaders Program. Current VBSR Members can be found in bold below!

The 2017 Vermont Emerging Leaders class is as follows:

  • Ray Coffin of All Access Infotech in Fairlee
  • Tami Napolitano of Awesome Graphics in Rutland
  • Sarah Kaeck of Bee’s Wrap in Bristol *
  • Mel Fields of Birnn Chocolates of Vermont in South Burlington
  • Nick Savasta of Cheese & Wine Traders in South Burlington*
  • Brent Karner of ClearLake Furniture in Ludlow
  • Frank Dell’Amore of Dell’Amore Enterprises in Colchester
  • William Elles of First Stop Board Barn in Killington
  • William Laberge of Grassroots Solar in Dorset *
  • Lisa Ransom of Grow Compost of Vermont in Moretown *
  • Johnny Mendez of Hen House Media in South Burlington
  • Evan Deutsch of Oxbow Creative in Burlington *
  • John George-Wheeler of Patagonia in Burlington
  • Robert Stubbins of Robert Stubbins Electrical and General Contractor in Rutland
  • Jeremy Elliott of Smugglers’ Notch Distillery in Jeffersonville
  • Abbey Duke of Sugarsnap in South Burlington *
  • Rob Sleamaker of Vasa in Essex Junction
  • Mark Elvidge of Vermont Nut Free Chocolates in Grand Isle
  • Arion Thiboumery of Vermont Packinghouse in North Springfield
  • Andres Torizzo of Watershed Consulting Associates in Burlington

For more information, call 802-828-4422 or visit www.sba.gov/vt