Leahy And Business Leaders Announce Creation Of $1 M Vermont Technology Seed Capital Fund

…Vermont Center For Emerging Technologies Welcomes Two New Businesses

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Members of Vermont’s business community and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) gathered Monday at the new home to a start-up business to announce the creation of a $1 million seed capital fund that will offer businesses much-needed funding in this difficult economy.  Leahy also welcomed two high-tech companies as new clients at the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) – 89 North (www.89North.com), which hosted the event in Burlington, and Standards Technology Group (www.standardstech.com).

Leahy secured a $1 million federal grant to create the Vermont Technology Seed Capital Fund in the federal government’s 2009 budget.  The fund, to be managed by VCET, will make early $50,000 to $250,000 high-risk equity investments in technology firms across the state with tremendous growth potential.  In return, successful companies will repay the fund for ongoing reinvestments. 

“A healthy economy requires businesses to have multiple sources of capital,” said Leahy.  “Vermont is blessed to have a variety of non-profit loan funds, at least one private venture capital fund and a myriad of private investors looking to invest in certain types of businesses.  But after four years of VCET operations, it has become clear that Vermont needs more early capital that can help businesses through growing pains and create jobs for Vermonters.”

VCET is a non-profit business incubator located in Burlington that offers office space and advanced business development resources.  The organization has strategic partnerships with the Vermont State Colleges, the University of Vermont, Champlain College, Norwich University and Middlebury College, along with regionally significant loan programs, angel investors and public and private economic development organizations.

“VCET is humbled and thankful to be a part of Vermont’s growing and exciting new venture eco-system,” said VCET Executive Director David Bradbury.  “Senator Leahy is the undisputed heavyweight champion for economic development and technology jobs here in Vermont.”

Bradbury said Monday’s announcement of the $1 million Leahy grant was just the beginning of the Vermont Technology Seed Capital Fund.  Bradbury said he hopes to fully capitalize the fund using a mix of public and private funds.  The first installment of $1 million could create between 50 and 70 new jobs according to Bradbury.

During Monday’s news conference, Leahy also welcomed VCET’s 19th and 20th clients:  89 North, a scientific lighting engineering company, and Standards Technology Group, an online industry standards and specifications company.

The creation of VCET’s Vermont Technology Seed Capital Fund follows last week’s announcement by Leahy and the Vermont Congressional Delegation that Vermont non-profit finance organizations received $6 million from the Community Development Financial Institutions Program to fund small business loan funds and other financial tools.  The Vermont Community Loan Fund of Montpelier, NeighborWorks of Western Vermont of West Rutland and Opportunities Credit Union of Burlington each are receiving $2 million federal grants to fund a small business loan program, expand mortgage products to first-time homebuyers and offer consumers additional credit resources.

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