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Farm Business Accelerator seeking entrepreneurs for November Cohort

September 10, 2019

Brattleboro Reformer, 8/28/19 -

The Windham Grows Farm Business Accelerator is seeking farmer-entrepreneurs for a November Cohort that will include mentoring, in-kind resources, physical space, educational experience and technical expertise to help build dynamic new farm businesses while leveraging one of Vermont's most valuable assets — land. Based on past success and the interest throughout Vermont, Windham Grows is expanding services to farmers state-wide.

"From the many farmers who have contacted Windham Grows, we learned that they have specific needs that are different from value-added food businesses," said Orly Munzing, Strolling of the Heifers founder. "Therefore, we have created a specialized program for farmers."

"Windham Grows will provide a business accelerator for farmers. It will assist farmers in developing value-added products and Agritourism as additional revenue streams," said Jim Verzino, Entrepreneur-in-Residence. "Windham Grows will seek out, evaluate, and provide development support for selected farmer entrepreneurs in small cohorts, emphasizing quality, innovation, and efficient resource use."

"The program will provide flexibility for farmer participants," said Cindy Delgatto, Windham Grows program manager. "Since 2016, 37 businesses that support farms have completed the traditional Windham Grows Business Accelerator and have raised over $1.9 million in outside investments to help fund their growing businesses. We look forward to having comparable success with our farmer entrepreneurs attending the program."

The Farm Business Accelerator begins in November and ends in April. Participants learn how to grow socially conscious, food-focused businesses by means of concentrated sessions on marketing, finance, production, technology and entrepreneur mindsets.

"Entrepreneurs receive mentoring, access to subject matter experts, connections to capital and non-capital resources," said Cairn Cross, co-founder and managing director of FreshTracks Capital, who is the other Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Windham Grows. "And cohort members become a collaborative peer group."

Applications for the November cohort are due midnight Sept. 30. Space is limited, and early application is encouraged. To learn more and apply, go to https://windhamgrows.org/windham-grows-farmer-application