DED: 2023 VEGI report, CONNEX Vermont, $33M in grants awarded

A store in downtown Montpelier under repair.

Department of Economic Development, September 2023 Flood relief continues to be top of mind at the Department of Economic Development (DED).  We are working diligently to review Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program (BEGAP) applications.  That $20 million dollar grant program is to help Vermont businesses and nonprofits that suffered physical damage in the July flooding. As a reminder, landlords are eligible for BEGAP grants to fix up rental units.

To date, DED has received 441 completed BEGAP applications. Half have been approved; the other half are in the queue. $4.4 million has been awarded so far with an average grant of $19,971. There is still funding left, so if you know an organization that could use the help, please send them our way.

We have also had the honor of distributing a tremendous amount of other grant monies in recent months. Between the Community Recovery and Revitalization Program, Capital Investment Program, Brownfields Revitalization Fund, and Northern Border Regional Commission Catalyst Awards, DED has been involved in the distribution of $33.7 million dollars to help further 64 projects around the state that will add jobs, increase access to childcare, improve infrastructure and much more. We welcome you to read more about most of these projects below and celebrate them with us.

The 2023 Vermont Economic Growth Incentive Program (VEGI) 2023 Annual Report is out.  VEGI is set to sunset January 1, 2025 unless the legislature takes action during the 2024 session to renew it. It is currently the only program of its kind in the state of Vermont’s toolbox to incentivize economic growth and expansion within our borders.  Please send us ideas you may have on how we may best serve the businesses and communities of Vermont.  Thank you.

Until next time... regards,
Signature of Joan Goldstein
Joan Goldstein
Commissioner, Department of Economic Development
[email protected]

MSI employee in Morrisville assembles a Concept 2 exercise machine.

VEGI 2023 Report

The Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC) released the 2023 Vermont Economic Growth Incentive Program (VEGI) Annual Report.  VEGI is an economic development tool that is a performance-based cash incentive for job and payroll creation and capital investment beyond organic growth.

VEGI has assisted Gordini Glove, Chroma Technologies, and MSI, Inc. grow and expand their operations in Vermont. They are all highlighted in the report, as well as other businesses that have accessed the program.

If you want to learn more about VEGI or apply for an incentive, contact VEPC Executive Director Abbie Sherman at (802) 793-0721 or [email protected].

Read the 2023 VEGI Annual Report

An aerial view of Catamount Film & Arts' Creative Campus project in St. Johnsbury

Community Recovery and Revitalization Grants

The Community Recovery and Revitalization Program (CRRP) just distributed its third round of grants, $11.4 million to 31 projects in 12 counties.

The 31 approved projects are expected to support 1,108 existing jobs, enable the creation of 160 new jobs, build or rehabilitate 315 affordable housing units, and add 71 new childcare slots for low- to moderate-income families.

The $40 million CRRP program is funded through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). After this latest round of grants, $8.2 million remains.  Applications will continue to be accepted until all funds are allocated.

Burlington City Arts on Pine Street

Capital Investment Program Update

The Capital Investment Program disbursed funds to 17 businesses and nonprofits.  One of those projects is an expansion and renovation of Burlington City Arts’ (BCA) Pine Street building.

BCA won a $500,000 Capital Investment grant to put towards their $4.5 million dollar project.  They are using the money to upgrade the exterior of the building, including new windows.  They are also adding an outdoor entertainment space, another classroom, and a commercial kitchen. BCA anticipates work at 405 Pine Street to be finished by 2026-2027.

The Capital Investment Program was funded by the Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

ACCD Deputy Secretary Tayt Brooks addresses Gov. Scott, Senator Sanders, Senator Welch and others during ceremony.

NBRC Catalyst Awards

The 2023 Northern Border Regional Commission’s (NBRC) Catalyst Awards ceremony was Friday, September 8 at Vermont State University-Johnson. All 13 recipients attended, as did Governor Scott, Senator Sanders, and Senator Welch.

The winners will share $10.8 million, the largest amount of award money for Vermont in the history of the NBRC. Projects in 12 counties received awards for a variety of initiatives including childcare centers, wastewater facilities, and the creation of an industrial/commercial park.

NBRC also runs the Forest Economy Program. $4M in grants are available this fall and eligible projects must directly support the forest industry.  Letters of Interest will be accepted until September 22, 2023

ACCD Secretary Linsday Kurrle (second from left), Sen. Patrick Leahy (fourth from left) and others break ground on the next stage of redevelopment at the Yellow Barn.

Hardwick Yellow Barn Update

One of those NBRC Catalyst Award winners is the Hardwick Yellow Barn.  ACCD Secretary Lindsay Kurrle attended a groundbreaking along with Senator Patrick Leahy and other state and local partners to honor six years of collaboration so far to transform this gateway to the Northeast Kingdom from a brownfield into a local food hub.

The Center for Agricultural Economy received a $500,000 Catalyst Grant to continue renovations on the 12,500 square foot structure.  To date the project has received about $13M in federal, state, and local funding from various sources including the Community Recovery and Revitalization Program, Northern Border Regional Commission, Brownfields Revitalization Fund, and Community Development Block Grant Program. When work is complete, the Yellow Barn will house Cabot Creamery, Jasper Hill, and the Center for an Agricultural Economy.

CONNEX Vermont Launches

The Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) has unveiled CONNEX Vermont, an online platform connecting Vermont and U.S. manufacturers of all sizes to buyers and suppliers, including state and federal governments. Whether you’re a buyer or supplier, CONNEX Vermont can help you grow your business.

The supply-chain database is easy to search and free to use. If you register for CONNEX Vermont by November 20th you will get one year free of full national access to data on more than 145,000 companies. Use promo code vmec1year to take advantage of this one-time offer. 

VMEC is hosting four webinars in September and October for businesses to learn more about CONNEX Vermont. The first is Thursday, September 21st.  For more details and registration, visit WMEC’s website.

As a reminder, Vermont APEX Accelerator helps businesses learn about and apply for government contracts, offering them free counseling, training, and networking opportunities.  Learn more about Vermont APEX Accelerator.

Sen. Watson, Sen. Clarkson, Sen. Brock, Sen. Westman, Tim Tierney of ACCD, Rep. Pajala.

Vermont at CSG-East

In late August Toronto hosted the Council of State Governments-East Annual meeting. Representatives from 13 states and 5 provinces came together to talk about issues facing The East like agriculture, energy, emerging technology, transportation, and workforce development.

Vermont Director of Business Recruitment and International Trade Tim Tierney attended alongside Senator Anne Watson, Senator Allison Clarkson, Senator Randy Brock, Senator Richard Westman, and Representative Kelly Pajala.

Economic Injury Survey

We understand there are many Vermont businesses that did not suffer physical damages from the floods but might be experiencing economic losses. To get a better idea of how many businesses are in this situation, ACCD is strongly encouraging participation in its Economic Injury Survey to acquire data on lost revenue and ongoing working capital challenges.

Please take ten minutes to fill out the survey and share it with other businesses owners.

Take the Economic Injury Survey

Support Vermont Businesses

Show your Vermont pride while supporting flood recovery efforts by buying a Vermont Strong license plate for yourself, your employees, and your customers. Ordering in bulk is an option. 

Half of all proceeds go to the Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program. The other half goes to the Vermont Community Foundation.

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Vermont Department of Economic Development
1 National Life Dr
Montpelier, VT 05620-5001