Entrepreneurial success in Vermont takes many forms

December 31, 2018

Scrappy, motivated, innovative, even desperate. These are words that can describe most small business owners as they pursue their dreams along with success. Recently Vermont Public Radio aired a podcast featuring several Vermont entrepreneurs who have found success in a variety of ways, often by utilizing business support programs offered by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and other organizations throughout the state. The businesses featured each took a different path but have two things in common: they all work incredibly hard, and they have all found success in Vermont.

Small businesses are the bedrock of the Vermont economy. Small business plays a large role in the lives of many Vermonters – in 2018, there were 77,683 small businesses, and 59.4% of Vermont employees worked for a small business. Additionally, these businesses make up 99% of all businesses in the state.

Recent Vermont small business news:

  • Being nimble and flexible is essential. Vermont’s general stores, some of which have been in business for decades and in some cases even centuries, have expanded and contracted to meet the demands of their customers and offset competition. Carrying local products and not being afraid to reinvent the business are key to succeeding as a business that many Vermonters rely on as a community hub.
  • The Vermont Farm Table Company has invented a new line of affordable, DIY-assembled tables that can be ordered online and delivered within a few days. The company will continue to produce their original line of custom, handmade tables. With revenues expected to reach $5M, the company felt it was time to expand with its unique fast-shipping tables that are made of real wood and have hired a new sales team of six to accommodate anticipated growth.
  • Startup darling SheFly is gaining momentum and continues to lay the groundwork for success. Recently the company, which invented pants specifically designed for women that allows them to relieve themselves outdoors without having to undress, started taking preorders and has established a relationship with a factory that will manufacture the pants. They will be launching on the iFundWomen crowdfunding platform in Spring of 2019.
  • Joining SheFly in the clothing manufacturing sector is a variety of Vermont-based clothing businesses each addressing an outdoor niche. Mana Threads makes brightly colored activewear for women. Eva Shaw invented the Overeasy HoodE, designed to fit over a skier’s helmet to improve warmth. Kaden Apparel founder Chelsea Camarata designs mountain biking wear specifically for women. Stratton-based Orsden manufactures ski jackets and outdoor wear with high quality, innovative features that sell at a lower price point, making skiing more accessible.

Nick Grimley is the Agency of Commerce & Community Development’s director of entrepreneurship and tech commercialization, and he’s available to advise your business at (802) 798-2328 or at Nick.Grimley@vermont.gov.

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