VERMONT LAUNCHES NEW INNOVATION GRANT PROGRAM
Thursday, Agency of Commerce & Community Development Secretary Michael Schirling announced the launch of the ThinkVermont Innovation Grant Program during the second annual Innovation Spaces Conference at Vermont Technical College.
The ThinkVermont Innovation Grant Program, proposed by the Scott Administration and passed in partnership with the Legislature, was created to respond to the growth needs of Vermont small businesses with 20 or fewer employees by funding innovative strategies that accelerate small business growth. The grant program will allow the State to invest in projects with grants that can be accessed more quickly and with fewer restrictions than traditional federal initiatives. The appropriation for this program is $150,000.
“Our goal with this program is to support innovative strategies that grow the economy and support vibrant communities, while facilitating ‘testbed’ approaches to create reproducible results,” said Schirling.
The ThinkVermont Innovation Grant Program is designed to fund projects in areas crucial to the growth needs of Vermont’s small businesses, including those that:
- Provide workforce training and recruitment (not eligible for state or federal funding);
- Establish or enhance a facility (co-working, makerspace, innovations center, etc.);
- Enable or support broadband telecommunication access;
- Leverage federal funding (such as Small Business Innovation Research [SBIR] grants);
- Support growth in Aerospace, Aviation, or Aviation Technology; or
- Provide technical assistance to growing Vermont businesses.
Focusing on these areas will positively impact Vermont’s small businesses. A well trained and vibrant workforce, access to high-speed internet and knowledgeable technical assistance are all essential to supporting a healthy entrepreneurial environment. In today’s economy, people are changing how and where they work, making access to co-working, maker and innovation spaces essential for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The Small Business Administration administers the SBIR Grant Program, which supports the commercialization of new technologies based on federal research and development. Several successful Vermont companies have leveraged this program and the State must help more gain access to this important resource.
“The State of Vermont is committed to looking for new and innovative programs that help support our small businesses, grow our economy and create more good jobs for Vermonters,” said Governor Scott. “Strengthening our economy is a top priority of my Administration, and this program is an important part of this work.”
Details on the ThinkVermont Innovation Grant Program are available at https://accd.vermont.gov/content/thinkvermont-innovation-grant-program. Interested parties with questions can contact Nick Grimley, ACCD director of entrepreneurship & tech commercialization, at Nick.Grimley@vermont.gov.