BRATTLEBORO, VT — Windham Grows, a food and agriculture business accelerator that connects entrepreneurs with mentoring, industry connections and support, is accepting applications for its winter/spring 2019 program.
Windham Grows is part of Strolling of the Heifers, whose mission is connecting people with healthy local food, encouraging and facilitating innovation and entrepreneurship in the farm/food sector, and supporting the development of stronger local food systems and healthy, sharing, connected and resilient communities.
“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 Executive Director.
“Having a great product is only one piece of the puzzle to making success happen,” said Jim Verzino, the program’s Director and Entrepreneur-In-Residence. “Windham Grows exists to build employment opportunities by helping businesses expand.”
Now accepting applications for its fourth cohort, Windham Grows has brought in over $1.5 million in outside investments to regional businesses that have completed the program.
Entrepreneurs who are accepted into the program will learn how to grow their socially conscious food-focused business with concentrated sessions on marketing, finance, production, technology and entrepreneur mindset over the six-month course.
“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,” said Cairn Cross, Windham Grows’ other Entrepreneur-In-Residence.
“The program consists of three-weekend residencies in Brattleboro, Vermont, and regular video meetings,” 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.”
Windham Grows is a FREE program and qualified candidates will join a growing network of fellow entrepreneurs and leaders in food-focused industries.
What Graduates Say About Windham Grows
“My sales grew 400% as a result of the program, said Liz Clarke of Nanarella’s Fruite Paté, a graduate of the most recent Windham Grows cohort, “I have gained a better understanding of starting a small food business, how to be an entrepreneur/business founder and implementer; how to evaluate my own strengths and limitations, and most importantly self-confidence for going forward toward meeting my goals.”
“There’s always a lot of “fog” in next steps in starting a beverage business,” comments Justin Bunnell of Venetian Beverage, “Jim and Cairn helped clear that fog and break down the steps into smaller more achievable bites!”
“We strongly recommend the Windham Grows program to any food entrepreneur(s) who are ready to make the next step in their business development,” said John Singer of Tavernier Chocolates, “There is a healthy investment of your time. But in return you’ll be exposed to many crucial aspects for any growing business–marketing, growth and scaling information, and best of all a network of fellow cohorts who are facing many of the same challenges you are.”
“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,” said Rob “Sugar Bob” Hausslein, of Sugar Bob’s Finest Kind, and a graduate of the first cohort.
To learn more and apply for admission to the next cohort of Windham Grows, please go to http://windhamgrows.org and apply by midnight on January 13, 2019.