BRATTLEBORO—Windham Grows, a farm and agriculture business accelerator that connects entrepreneurs with mentoring, industry connections and support, is expanding its eligibility beyond Vermont’s Windham County and accepting applications for its summer/fall 2018 program.
Windham Grows is part of Strolling of the Heifers, which helps local farmers grow and maintain their farms and their rural lifestyle.
“Windham Grows fits into the Stroll’s mission by helping existing agriculture-related businesses develop in ways that strengthen the economy, the community, and the environment,” Strolling of the Heifers executive director Orly Munzing said in a news release.
“Having a good product is only one piece of the puzzle to making success happen,” said Jim Verzino, Windham Grows’s director and entrepreneur-in-residence. “Windham Grows exists to build employment opportunities by helping businesses expand."
Since fall 2016, Windham Grows has graduated two cohorts, totaling 13 businesses and non-profits. In 2017, graduates of the Windham Grows program created 27 new jobs.
“Building on the success of the first two cohorts, we’ve revised the program to help food and agriculture businesses from all over the Northeast, said Cairn Cross, Windham Grows’s other entrepreneur-in-residence. “Entrepreneurs will receive mentoring, access to subject matter experts, connections to capital and non-capital resources, and the cohort members will become a collaborative peer group.”
The program consists of three weekend residencies (Friday afternoon to Sunday noon), with most travel and food expenses covered, said Cross. “We will also provide outside consulting services tailored to the needs of individual entrepreneurs to help them move their companies to the next level, as well as preparing them for the level after that.”