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Burlington Launches Mayor's Prize to Support Entrepreneurship

Thursday, October 12, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jeff Couture


Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger announced the launch of The Mayor’s Prize for Entrepreneurship, designed to increase support for the City’s entrepreneurs.  The Mayor’s Prize will award more than $300,000 over a two-year period to not-for-profit entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) or research organizations with a proven track record of success that propose innovative new or expanded programs to support the City’s entrepreneurs.  The goal of the Mayor’s Prize is to foster the growth and development of entrepreneurship in the city and encourage outside-the-box thinking about how best to achieve this.  The Mayor’s Prize is entirely funded by a grant from the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.


“Burlington has been influenced positively in many ways by the success of our entrepreneurs –, Seventh Generation, Burton Snowboards, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Switchback, and many more,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “As a City, we want to do more to foster the pioneering spirit and restless vision that animates our entrepreneurs.  I am excited to announce the Mayor’s Prize competition to incentivize creative thinking for how best to support the next generation of Burlington’s entrepreneurs.”


“Entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy,” said Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) Director Noelle MacKay.  “CEDO was delighted to work with the Kauffman Foundation to bring the Mayor’s Prize program to fruition in support of our entrepreneurs.  By funding innovative programs that offer technical assistance, education, business advising, and other services to entrepreneurs, the Mayor’s Prize will strengthen the network of support for these creative members of our community.” 


Mayor’s Prize application process 

The Mayor’s Prize will make at least two grants each year over a two-year period. The total amount of funding available for this year is $200,000, and prizes will be awarded in the range of $50,000 to $75,000 (maximum $100,000) to two or more not-for-profit organizations and/or research organizations. Funding from the Mayor’s Prize may not be re-granted to other organizations or businesses, and may not be used to seed loan programs.  For-profit businesses are not eligible to receive funding from the Mayor’s Prize.    


The Mayor’s Prize is a competitive process where ESOs that serve Burlington entrepreneurs and businesses are invited to submit a proposal for either the expansion of a successful program or to support the creation of new, innovative programs that address the needs of entrepreneurs.  Proposals will also be accepted for research projects that evaluate the entrepreneurial ecosystem and provide valuable context for decision-making and priority-setting.  Submissions will be evaluated by a Judging Committee composed of seven people with expertise in various entrepreneurship-related fields and drawn from local and national organizations. 


Prizes will be awarded in six categories that have been determined by independent landscape analyses conducted by Kauffman and the City of Burlington.  These categories include ESOs that:

  1. Support high growth firms
  2. Provide targeted education and support for founders of businesses
  3. Connect and coordinate existing entrepreneur support services to create efficiencies
  4. Support entrepreneurs making products locally
  5. Support women- and/or minority- and/or immigrant-owned businesses
  6. Not-for-profit research organizations that research and evaluate the entrepreneurial ecosystem


Please see the Call for Applications for more information on these categories as well as the application process and timeline on CEDO’s website  Applications are due Friday, November 3. Applicants will be informed of the final selection by December 11, 2017. 

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