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The Commons

Conference provides a seat at the table

For food and agriculture businesses, the Entrepreneur to Table Summit provides access to the minds, networks, and wallets of entrepreneurs, business leaders, and investors

This year’s summit will be free to attend. The full schedule, biographies of speakers, and registration information can be found at

Originally published in The Commons issue #409 (Wednesday, May 24, 2017).

BRATTLEBORO—Focused on growing conscious food and agriculture businesses, the Entrepreneur to Table Summit will take place in Brattleboro on Thursday and Friday, June 1 and 2.

Presented by the Strolling of the Heifers’ Slow Living Summit and Windham Grows, the Stroll’s agricultural incubator program, the Entrepreneur to Table Summit aims to directly impact the growth of food and agriculture industry by investing in local communities, businesses, and farms that support it.

“Starting a business is challenging mentally, physically, and financially,” said Orly Munzing, executive director of Strolling of the Heifers. “We didn’t want cost to prevent any entrepreneur from coming. We decided to make this year’s Summit free to attend, and thanks to all our generous sponsors, we are able to do that.”

The summit features business growth tools, hands-on training, interactive sessions, and events that are designed to give area entrepreneurs access to the minds, networks, and wallets of leading entrepreneurs, business leaders, and investors.

“A great entrepreneurial ecosystem is built on relationships and knowledge sharing,” said Jim Verzino, Windham Grows director and entrepreneur-in-residence. “The summit is designed to give attendees the opportunity to connect one-on-one with entrepreneurs and investors.”

Access events on the plate

A series of access events and hands-on training with limited space have been integrated into the program:

• Investor Roundtable: Entrepreneurs will have a rare opportunity to ask questions and showcase their products to representatives from eight of the top lenders and investors in New England.

Participating organizations include: Cooperative Fund of New England, Milk Money Vermont, Vermont Community Loan Fund, Flexible Capital Fund, FreshTracks, and Community Capital of Vermont.

• Business Leader Luncheons: Bring your questions to the table and share a meal with business leaders. Four topic-based conversations with business leaders will be offered, including permaculture, farm-to-table, financing, and conscious business.

• Ready, Set, Pitch!: Do you have a concept for a potential food or agricultural business that you want feedback on? Or a new idea to expand your business? Pitch your idea to potential investors and seasoned entrepreneurs.

The three entrepreneurs with the most compelling pitches will receive three hours of personal coaching from Windham Grows entrepreneurs-in-residence Jim Verzino and Cairn Cross.

Limited space is available for access events and advance registration is required. Registration information is available on

Speakers and sessions

Covering the complete Entrepreneur to Table lifecycle, the Summit will host sessions on bootstrapping your business, branding and marketing strategy, distribution, local sourcing, creating and implementing sustainable business models, the stages of financing, design thinking, lean startup, time management for innovation, and more.

Showcasing local and global experts in their field, the summit’s speaker lineup will provide resources and expertise across three summit tracks including Farm to Table, Permaculture, and Entrepreneurship.

Featured speakers include Raj Sisodia, founding member of the Conscious Capitalism movement; Mark Shepard, founder of New Forest Farm; Mike Burns, founder of Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute; Richard French, founder and president of The Works Bakery and Café; and Thomas Moffitt, CEO of Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy.

The summit also includes a Thursday evening “Speed Dating” session where entrepreneurs can get immediate feedback on their business idea from fellow entrepreneurs and investors in what organizers of the event call “a fun, interactive format designed to give everyone the opportunity to build relationships and connections.”

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