Skip to Main Content

LaunchVT, Generator and VtSBDC Team Up to Support Student Entrepreneurs

LaunchVT, Generator, and Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) are excited to announce the start of the 2020 Jumpstart Collegiate program. Back for a second year after a successful pilot last summer, Jumpstart Collegiate helps aspiring student entrepreneurs launch their ventures. Ten intrepid students from local Vermont colleges will participate in an eight week comprehensive business development program and get connected with the mentors and service providers they need to be successful.

“These are difficult times and we knew many students were having their summer opportunities cancelled so it was important for us to find a way to continue to offer this program,” said John Antonucci, Executive Director of LaunchVT. Thanks to a new partnership with VTSBDC and the support of UVM, Champlain College, and Middlebury College who have all sponsored students from their schools, Jumpstart Collegiate will kick off this week with a 100% virtual format.

VtSBDC, a statewide leader in collegiate entrepreneurship, has joined the Jumpstart Collegiate collaboration this year, strengthening the overall program and providing more opportunities for students. Sarah Kearns, statewide advisor of strategic projects and area business advisor for Addison County, will co-facilitate the program and students will get connected to other expert VtSBDC advisors who can help them after the program concludes.

“The future belongs to the young entrepreneurs and innovators, and one of our primary initiatives is to equip our students with the tools to identify and solve problems, serving as a resource to help them achieve their goals,” said Linda Rossi, State Director of VtSBDC. “We are excited to collaborate with LaunchVT and Generator to continue the Jumpstart Collegiate program.”

Students in the 2020 Cohort will participate in eight virtual workshops where they will develop their customers, business models and marketing strategies. They will leave the program with an executive summary, sound financials and a milestone map for the future. LaunchVT and VTSBDC will lead the business development work and Generator will provide mentors, expertise and tools for designing and developing product prototypes. The Generator community has extensive knowledge and expertise to help students advance their design and manufacturing skills and solve product development challenges.

“JumpStart Collegiate provides a powerful opportunity for young entrepreneurs by bringing a community of tinkerers, makers, and business leaders together to think through the first stages of development for future entrepreneurs,” said Meg Hammond, Executive Director at Generator. “Though we will miss having this year’s cohort at our makerspace, we look forward to seeing each of these up-and-coming businesses take root.”

The following student businesses will be participating in the Jumpstart Collegiate 2020 Cohort:

  • Laces Riley Seith – Champlain College
    Laces is a running app that incorporates safety features to alleviate the challenges of running and getting lost in unfamiliar places. The primary function of the app is the ability to “draw” your route and have navigation guiding you. 
  • Green AdviceLuka Bowen – Middlebury College
    Green Advice is a customer review platform that will act as a market disruption, mobilizing black Americans to vote with their wallets to support the businesses that enhance their well being and protect their communities. 
  • ZeskinzAbe Hoffman and Ivo Verzone – Middlebury College
    Zeskinz provides backcountry skiers and split-boarders the equipment that will make the way up just as smooth as the way down by offering an improvement to existing skin technology that ensures a cheaper, more sustainable and longer lasting product.
  • CramJeremy Navarro – Middlebury College
    Cram is an on-demand virtual tutoring platform for students, by students, that makes learning easier by connecting student tutors with students in need through short, accessible, pay-as-you-go tutoring sessions. 
  • River Rat – Ian Brett – University of Vermont
    Custom Outdoors specializes in game calls for hunting, such as duck, goose, deer, and turkey calls. River Rat also provides a full line of fishing lures. This brand was founded on years of experience and a passion for the outdoors. 
  • DormUP – Phumisit “Jaab” Veskijkul – Middlebury College
    DormUP is an online platform that allows Middlebury students to envision their dorm room in a 3D model and rearrange objects freely, making the designing of space more efficient.
  • GreenTown VT – Andrés Santana – Middlebury College
    GreenTown VT is an online marketplace and delivery network that facilitates e-commerce between students and local businesses in college towns, redirecting online revenue to local markets creating jobs in the community and reducing a consumer’s carbon footprint.
  • Pachamama Spirits Dylan Jacobs and Maxwell Reitkopf  – University of Vermont
    Pachamama Spirits, LLC. provides consumers with sustainable alternatives in the premium vodka market, while assisting development in The Sacred Valley of Peru.

LaunchVT is a program of the Lake Champlain Chamber that provides business acceleration programs and resources that empower Vermonters to solve problems and create economic opportunities in their communities.

Lake Champlain Chamber powers prosperity in the Lake Champlain region through five distinct points: seeking economic opportunity for all; celebrating business ownership and entrepreneurship; promoting a robust, diversified visitor economy; cultivating community leadership; and nurturing emerging talent.

Generator makerspace is a shared design and fabrication environment dedicated to supporting the creative, education and production needs of 400+ members. It offers universal access to studios, shared tool-sets, programming and a vibrant, solutions-oriented community in a 11500 square foot facility. 

VtSBDC is focused on strengthening small businesses in Vermont and addressing their needs through one-on-one advising and training. As a statewide, accredited organization, VtSBDC has personnel who are skilled at managing projects and collaborating with partners.