Vermont Business Magazine The Black River Innovation Campus is receiving $50,000 as part of the Small Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. The annual competition provides funds to accelerators and incubators supporting entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations. It is the fifth year the Small Business Administration has held the competition.
“The $50,000 prize will help us to further invest in resources for our burgeoning technology entrepreneurship programs. We believe our entrepreneurship support program and mentorship network will be invaluable in reshaping the Springfield region’s economy,” said Trevor Barlow, BRIC Executive Director.
BRIC is a non-profit organization focused on transitioning Springfield to a digital economy by leveraging the area’s 10-gigabit internet speed. The campus, located at the former Park Street School, will host an array of digital entrepreneurs and students learning code, software and other digital skills. The Springfield Regional Development Corp. and the Center on Rural Innovation established BRIC in 2018.
“The BRIC project will hopefully be an economic catalyst, not only in terms of direct jobs, but growing the workforce of the future for the companies we're hoping to nurture along to success. BRIC is truly creating a sustainable tech ecosystem in Springfield,” said Bob Flint, SRDC Executive Director.
Barlow and Flint have a personal connection to BRIC. Both were raised in Springfield and received their primary education at the Park Street School.
Out of the 195 organizations that entered the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, 60 were selected to receive prizes. Applications were judged by a panel of experts with entrepreneurial, investment and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector. BRIC is the first Vermont organization to receive funds from the competition.
“Over the past five years, the competition has provided awards to innovative and promising accelerators and incubators. This year’s recipients, who will each receive an award of $50,000 from the SBA, are no exception,” said Acting Small Business Administration Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “This includes entrepreneurs located in Opportunity Zones – where job creation and investments are moving forward to revitalize communities.”
Opportunity Zones are economically depressed areas where investors may be given preferential tax treatment when investing in an Opportunity Zone. Vermont Governor Phil Scott designated the Springfield area an Opportunity Zone in March 2018.
Source: October 7, 2019. SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – SBA