OnRamp, a new entrepreneurial development program at The MINT, Rutland’s Makerspace, is now taking applications for the 2019-2020 cohort. Anyone with a small business idea or small business that is ready to grow is eligible to apply. Members of the cohort will receive a full slate of benefits, including MINT membership for the year, access to a nine-month business development curriculum through LaunchVT, access to VCET’s ScaleHere program, one-on-one mentoring and support throughout the year, priority registration and seating at MINT OnRamp Public Lecture series events throughout the year, coworking space, and much more.
Of the applicants, only six will be invited to participate in the program. While the application process will be competitive, the program is free for the participants that are chosen. Karen McCalla, MINT Maker Evangelist, is leading the launch of the program.
“The Rutland region is rich with an entrepreneurial spirit and already has so much great support for small and growing businesses,” said McCalla. “The goal of OnRamp is to unite these resources to ensure our cohort can get familiar with everything already available while adding a bunch of new offerings, all structured within a supportive and collaborative environment.”
Throughout the year, OnRamp participants will be working with representatives from the Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC), the Center for Women and Enterprise, the Small Business Development Center, the Women Business Owners Network, the SCORE program, the Small Business Administration, area businesses, and many local and regional experts. Various pitch events throughout the year will allow the participants to present their ideas, hone their pitches, and celebrate early successes, culminating in a final pitch event in August 2020 as part of the MINT’s annual MINTacular celebration of making and entrepreneurship.
The OnRamp program will also feature a public lecture series with presentations on marketing, business branding, professionalism, finding capital, scaling up when it’s time to grow, and more. These talks will be presented by local experts and will be free to the public to attend.
The OnRamp program is supported by a grant from the State of Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development ThinkVermont Innovation program, generous local investors, and partnerships with local business supporters.
“We’ve identified entrepreneurship as a real area of opportunity and growth in the greater Rutland community, and we’re excited about the impact this program will have,” said Tyler Richardson, executive director of REDC. “To have a program like OnRamp here to drive world-class innovation and support in entrepreneurship to our budding businesses is thrilling. REDC is excited to bring all the players together and help bring six new businesses to our community.”
The deadline for applications is August 1, 2019. A committee of local business leaders will review the applications and choose the six cohort members. All applications are confidential and we encourage everyone who is interested to apply.
“We’re excited about this great opportunity for Rutland-area entrepreneurs,” said McCalla. “And the MINT is excited about the new energy OnRamp will bring into the makerspace. We can’t wait to see what dynamic new businesses will be joining the Rutland region’s economic landscape as a result of this program.”
To learn more about OnRamp, and to complete an application, go to rutlandmint.org/onramp.