Mayor, BTV Ignite, and Burlington Telecom Announce Accelerated Timeline for New Community Investment
Sunday, May 10, 2020
Posted by: Jeff Couture
BTV Ignite, a public/private partnership in Burlington, VT., Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, and Burlington Telecom, announced an accelerated timeline for community investments, as well as new programs developed in partnership with the University of Vermont and a wide range of community partners focused on supporting businesses, the local workforce, and economic development. These community investment funds, which will total $3 million over 10 years, are a result of the competitive process directed by the Mayor and supported by the City Council that culminated in the sale of Burlington Telecom. The elements of the announcement include:
- Accelerating the next round of $50,000 workforce development grants for Burlington-based STEM & workforce training, focusing on programming for Burlington youth.
- Up to $500,000 in new investments for Burlington-based businesses in 2020, including about $200,000 of investments expected to be announced in the coming weeks, with funds drawn from the Burlington Telecom Innovation Fund.
- A retail resiliency webinar, How to Move from Storefront to Shopify in Under an Hour, created in partnership with the University of Vermont’s Continuing and Distance Education office to help local merchants learn and leverage e-commerce solutions focused on building resilience.
- A new BTV Ignite-led Burlington Small Business Digital Presence Program, that will connect small businesses with a range of technical support to develop an online presence. The program’s development follows a tech sector business impact and needs assessment conducted by BTV Ignite.
STEM and Technical Skill Fund
Initially planned for October 2020, the application for the BTV Ignite’s STEM and Technical Skill Fund is now open. A streamlined application and review process has been implemented to meet the immediate and emerging needs of Burlington workers facing hardship as result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BTV Ignite STEM and Technical Skill Fund was made possible through commitments secured by the Mayor and City Council in the asset purchase agreement formalized during the recent sale of Burlington Telecom. Funds are granted to organizations teaching technical skills and supporting STEM education for Burlington youth and creating new economic opportunities for the Burlington workforce. Funded though Burlington Telecom, this local support fund will grant $50,000 annually through 2029 under the administration and management of BTV Ignite.
In 2019, The BTV Ignite board selected Generator, a design and fabrication consortium for entrepreneurs, and Mercy Connections, an educational organization creating opportunities for women, to receive $20,000 and $30,000 respectively. The nonprofits were chosen for their demonstrated focus on helping start and grow new businesses, create new jobs and promote the skills needed to fill them in Burlington.
Learn more and apply: btvignite.com/stem-technical-fund
Burlington Telecom Innovation Fund
Inaugural investments from The Burlington Telecom Innovation Fund will be made in the coming weeks, and Schurz Communications, Inc (the owner of BT) has committed to invest up to $500,000 in 2020 in a spring and fall investment round. The Fund’s Investment Advisory Committee is in the final stages of evaluating and selecting investments in Burlington-based businesses with priority given to businesses founded or run by women, people of color, people with disabilities, and other historically disadvantaged groups.
The Fund has an available capital pool of $2.5MM over 10 years, to be used for investments in flexible structures allocated across a mix of startups and more established growth companies. You can learn more about the Fund here: btvignite.com/bt-innovation-fund
Read more at BTV Ignite