Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Montpelier, VT

Montpelier, VT

Montpelier, VT has a small population with a large number of businesses located within the state’s capital.

Montpelier, VT, named for the city in Southern France, is the state’s capital but only its fifth-largest city by population. One of only nine incorporated cities in the state, Montpelier is the U.S. capital with the lowest population. Though not many live in the city full-time, its daytime population is much higher due to a large number of businesses located there. In fact, the state of Vermont as a whole has a strong presence in the world of business and entrepreneurship.

Down the road, the Burlington area has established a reputation as one of the country’s most innovative cities. The state as a whole ranked well in the Kauffman Foundation’s 2018 entrepreneurial research, with especially high numbers in “Rate of New Entrepreneurs” and “Startup Early Survival Rate”. The state also ranked highly in the 2018 Opportunity Index, finishing second in the study based on a combination of economic and educational factors.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Montpelier’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Burlington is home to one branch of Girl Develop It, a company with locations throughout the country that aims to teach women software skills to help them enter the business world.

Based down the road in Randolph, StartupVT is an organization that aims to create a statewide network and support resources for entrepreneurs throughout Vermont.

Vermont Coders Connection is a meetup group that works to help develop connections and skills among the technology innovator community.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Startup Weekends is two-day conferences based around entrepreneurship held by Techstars in cities throughout the country. Montpelier is one that hosts them regularly.

Located just outside of Montpelier in Barre, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce hosts a wide variety of regular events, including awards ceremonies, conferences and more.

The Vermont Technology Alliance hosts regular tech-related events in cities throughout the state.

 

Startup Competitions:

LaunchVT, a statewide accelerator program, runs a collegiate pitch competition open to all college and university students throughout the state.

Though it took a hiatus in 2019, the Road Pitch competition in which “business bikers” ride through the state and attend pitch meetings and invest in companies plans to return in 2020.

Down the road in Burlington, the University of Vermont hosts an annual business pitch competition for its students.

 

Co-working Spaces:

Local 64 is a co-working space in downtown Montpelier that offers its members 24/7 access to both open working space and private offices.

Just outside of Montpelier in Barre, The Office Block is a co-working space with floating desk and dedicated desk memberships as well as conference rooms available.

Located down the road in Waitsfield, Valley. Works offers a variety of co-working memberships as well as hosting regular classes based on business.

 

Makerspaces:

The Aldrich Public Library just outside of Montpelier in Barre makes a variety of digital services available to the public, including a 3D printer.

Located in Burlington, Generator is a large makerspace that boasts over 11,500 square feet of workshops full of manufacturing tools and equipment available to its members.

Down the road in Colchester, the Office of Information Technology at Saint Michael’s College runs a small makerspace open to students.

The University of Vermont’s FabLab is a makerspace with rapid prototyping tools available to students and faculty that also hosts regular educational workshops for the campus community.

 

Incubators:

Based in Burlington, LaunchVT runs a number of statewide programs to help support startups, including 9-week, product-focused JUMP/START incubator and the REACT program.

The Mad River Food Hub is an organization that works to help with processing, storage and distribution of food products as well as training food-based entrepreneurs.

Located just down the road from Montpelier in Randolph Center, the Vermont Small Business Development Center organizes a number of resources to support area businesses.

The goal of the Montpelier-based Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund is to nurture and develop the state’s economy in a sustainable way.

 

Accelerators:

Formerly known as Accel-VT, DeltaClime VT is a Montpelier-based accelerator that works with early-stage ventures throughout the state related to climate innovation.

The primary program of LaunchVT is the accelerator program by the same name, which works to support entrepreneurs through coaching, workshops, capital and more.

 

Colleges/Universities:

Though the Community College of Vermont doesn’t offer any programs in entrepreneurship, its business program does include classes on entrepreneurship and small business management.

Norwich University, located just outside of Montpelier in Northfield, offers students a degree in Management, with the opportunity to add a minor in entrepreneurship.

Down the road in Burlington, the University of Vermont organizes a wide variety of resources designed to help support student entrepreneurship.

Students at Vermont Technical College have the opportunity to earn either a bachelor’s degree or associate’s degree in entrepreneurship

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

The Flexible Capital Fund provides financing to growth-stage companies in the sustainable agriculture, clean technology and food production industries.

Founded in 2000, FreshTracks Capital is a venture capital firm that invests primarily in technology-driven businesses in or near the state of Vermont.

Based in Burlington, North Country Angels is a group of investors that look to invest in early- and seed-stage investments in companies across the state and the surrounding ones.

A program run by the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, the Vermont Seed Capital Fund invests in early-stage technology companies around the state.

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

The Vermont Business Magazine, which covers business news online and through traditional magazine subscriptions, also offers a daily email newsletter.

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce offers Commerce Connection, a monthly newsletter covering area business development news and chamber events.

VTDigger, an investigative journalism platform for the state of Vermont, offers a variety of newsletters, including one focusing on business news.

Are you familiar with the entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Montpelier, VT not included in the article above? If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Burlington, VT, Concord, NH, Manchester-Nashua, NH


Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.