Newsletter June 16, 2020

 As usual, a huge thank you to our supporters:
UVM, Vermont Technology Council, Middlebury College, Vermont Agency of Commerce, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, VT EPSCoR, Fairpoint Communications, and GBIC.


Member Spotlight:

Olivia Steimke
Bluestone Life

School: UVM
Office: VCET@BTV

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What are your interests? 
I’ve been living in VT for over 20 years now. I grew up here and went to BHS. I never get sick of Vermont! I was a hardcore lacrosse player for a long time and when I graduated high school, I originally went to Central Connecticut State University to play lacrosse. After a year however, I decided that I wanted to focus more on my education and came home to UVM, where I was a double major in accounting and marketing with an applied design minor. I am passionate about fashion, especially sustainable fashion and shopping, and some of my previous work here in Burlington has been fashion-oriented. I enjoy yoga in my free time.
How did you end up here at VCET? What do you enjoy about being in the space and what do you do for Bluestone Life?

After I graduated from UVM, I was immediately attracted to Bluestone’s core mission. I felt that it was closely aligned with my own personal beliefs. Bluestone’s mission is “to be a catalyst for human progress; protecting families, communities, and the planet for the next 7 generations.” That really resonated with me because I think that financial companies should be focused on more than just making money.

My job is to help our CEO and some of our other employees with organization and scheduling, as well as the adoption of new software. Everyone here at VCET is so friendly and its such a diverse crowd. I enjoy being around a lot of people and making connections with people I might otherwise not have known. In addition, I really appreciate seeing so many familiar faces. When I recognize other VCET members around town, even if I don’t know them personally, it gives me a sense of community.

You graduated recently, what have you found is the biggest adjustment now that you’re no longer in school?
It was an abrupt transition. I graduated, moved into a new apartment and started a new job all in about two weeks. It really tested my time management abilities. I still don’t feel like I have it all together, but once I do and I can settle into a routine, I think it will be much easier. I’m excited about the future, and even though there are some aspects of school that I miss, like getting to sleep in, I’m very excited and passionate about this next phase of my life.
What do you think are the challenges facing recent college graduates here in Vermont? How do you think Vermont can do a better job of retaining young professionals?
Everyone I know would love to stay in VT, but unfortunately there aren’t enough jobs in the area. No one wants to leave, they just feel like they have to. Most people I went to school with applied to, but if they didn’t get jobs there they mostly gave up. Housing is expensive if you don’t have family living in the area to rely on. I believe that places like VCET are the key to this issue, since they provide the infrastructure for businesses to get off the ground and eventually be a source of jobs here in VT.


VCET ninja, Mark Brooks

VCET member THINKmd was recently named a winner of the DAI Global Award. THINKmd was one of 296 applications from around the world, one of 9 finalists, and one of 4 winners. As a winner, THINKmd receives $20k in seed funding and the opportunity for a field visit to a DAI project in-country to assess their product/market fit with partners in the field. THINKmd will likely head to Guatemala with DAI later this summer with a focus on the Zika outbreak. Check out the announcement here.

Congratulations also to member Mark Brooks who has become VCET resident Ninja, earning his 6th degree Black Belt.

If you’re from southern VT, or headed down that way, you should keep Coworking Plus on your radar. The Brattleboro-based coworking space is launching soon, following a successful interest meeting on June 14th that garnered 18 Founding Member pledges.

In other news, VCET continues to grow to over 140 members across the UVM, Middlebury and FairPoint Technology Hub locations!

Recommended Reading

Jessica Livingston’s Pretty Complete List on How Not to Fail
Jessica Livingston, co-founder of Y Combinator, gives an insightful examination of how startups can set themselves up to succeed in her keynote address to the third annual Female Founders Conference.

How to Preempt Team Conflict
Working on a team can be great, but it can also be challenging. The Harvard Business Review provides some great strategies for navigating team struggles.

38 Startup Pitch Decks From Companies That Changed The World
“As an entrepreneur you need to be a rockstar at storytelling if you want to land capital from investors during your financing rounds.”

What Your Opportunity Slide is Missing – Make Investors Believe
Including an opportunity slide as part of your investor pitch is an often overlooked key to creating a great pitch and attracting VC partners.

Great Opportunities


Vermont Technical College is offering certificates in web development and beginner and advanced software development. Learn how to apply here.

Consider taking advantage of the networking and professional development opportunities offered by the Burlington Young Professionals. Get your membership here.

Plan ahead for the third annual FreshTracks Road Pitch taking place August 1st-5th, 2016. If you’re an entrepreneur seeking advice or capital, this is a great opportunity. Contact your local organizer for a slot and learn more here.

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