Vermont Business MagazineWindham Grows, a program of Strolling of the Heifers, is accepting applications for its Summer/Fall 2019 cohort. Windham Grows is a food and agriculture business accelerator, connecting entrepreneurs with mentors, industry contacts, and support.
"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," said Orly Munzing, Strolling of the Heifers Founder.
"Having a great product is only one piece of the puzzle to making success happen," said Jim Verzino, the program's Director and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. "We’re also having important conversations about food and agriculture, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and the collective social conscience. It matters.” So far, the 20+ professionals who have completed the first three cohorts have raised over $1.6 million in outside investments to help fund their growing businesses. Currently, the fourth cohort is in process and due to graduate in June.
Liz Clarke, Nanarella's Fruit Paté
Who are the graduates of Windham Grows? They are the current and emerging socially minded entrepreneurs in the region, including Whetstone Brewery, Vermont Tortilla, Putney Mountain Winery, and Frabjous Fibers and Wonderland Yarns.
Justin Bunnell, Venetian Beverage
The next cohort begins in July, and Windham Grows seeks food and agricultural entrepreneurs who want to build a business, change the conversation around food and farms, and strengthen their communities. Those fortunate enough to participate have had a transformative experience: “My sales grew 400% as a result of the program,” said Liz Clarke of Nanarella’s Fruite Paté, “I have gained a better understanding of starting a small food business, how to be an entrepreneur, business founder and implementer, and how to evaluate my own strengths.” Business leaders accepted into the program learn how to grow socially conscious, food-focused businesses with concentrated sessions on marketing, finance, production, technology and entrepreneur mindsets over the six-month course.
“Entrepreneurs receive mentoring, access to subject matter experts, connections to capital and non-capital resources, and cohort members become a collaborative peer group,” said Cairn Cross, co-founder and Managing Director of FreshTracks Capital, who is Windham Grows’ other Entrepreneur-in-Residence.
Rob "Sugar Bob" Hausslein, Sugar Bob’s Finest Kind
“The program consists of three-weekend residencies in Brattleboro, Vermont, and regular video meetings.” said Cross. “We 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 prepare them for the level after that.” In addition, the program provides food and lodging for non-local participants.
Of his overall experience in the program, Rob “Sugar Bob” Hausslein of Sugar Bob’s Finest Kind said, “I strongly encourage you to consider taking part in the Windham Grows program if: 1. You can commit to the time. 2. Need the help, and 3. Play well with others.”
Source: Windham Grows