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In This Issue
VBSR's New Intern Program
Member Health Care Survey Update
Take VBSR's Strategic Planning Survey
VBSR's February Get-Together and Other Events
High Mowing Seeds Files Suit Against Sugar Beets
Vermont Adaptive Program Helps Visually Impaired Skiers
Being Green is Hot... But Beware
King Arthur Flour Becomes a Founding B Corporation
VT Entrepreneurship Week Events
New Members
Growing Local Value - VBSR Bookshelf
Stonyfield Farms Entrepreneurship Camp
Employees and Federal Benefits Guide
VBSR's Announces New Intern Program!
2007 Employer Guide BannerDear friend,

It is with great pleasure that I have joined the team of VBSR professionals as the new Intern Program Manager. 

I am looking forward to working with many of you on a quest to keep energetic and innovative graduates of Vermont Colleges and Universities in our state while helping your business grow and supporting the fast-growing entrepreneurial economy of our state.
Did you know that small to medium sized businesses are creating the majority of new jobs in Vermont, yet many are reporting a lack of skilled workers, which negatively impacts their growth?  As part of the effort to address this lack of workers, we have started VBSR's new Intern Program in hopes of creating successful connections.  We will be matching qualified students approaching graduation with VBSR member businesses that are planning on workforce expansion within the next three to five years.

We consistently work to improve, promote and nurture our member businesses.  I will be here to assist with the internship process from start to finish, making matches and supporting those matches through the duration of the program. 

If your business is growing and you are interested in creating paid internships in your company, or if you have further questions please contact me at lisac@vbsr.org or 802-862-8347.

I look forward to hearing from you and working together for the common goal of business success!

Lisa Curtis
Intern Program Manager
Public Policy
VBSR Health Care Survey Media Coverage
In case you missed it, VBSR held a press conference Tues, Jan 29 announcing the results of our membership health care survey.  Follow the links below to read some of the media coverage of the event:

Business owners: Costs Threaten Health Benefits
Rutland Herald Coverage of VBSR Health Care Survey Results

Businesses Predict Health-Care Collapse
Burlington Free Press Coverage of VBSR Health Care Survey Results

Business Group Says Health Care Costs Becoming Prohibitive
VPR's Coverage of VBSR Health Care Survey Results

Progressive Business Group Says Health Insurance System is at Risk
Times Argus Coverage of VBSR Health Care Survey Results

Read more news on VBSR's web-site

VBSR Public Policy Blog

Read Andrea Cohen's latest public policy blog entry on www.vbsr.org.  Andrea is VBSR's full-time public policy advocate.  E-mail: Andreac@vbsr.org
Last week's entry:

2008 Legislative Session Week #6- Tuesday
by Andrea on Feb 12th, 2008

As the "first" energy bill (S.209) moves out of the House this week, the "second" energy and climate change bill (S.350) is getting some play this week in Senate Natural Resources.  S. 350 is a compilation of the original S.350 and S. 339 which were developed in response to the reports of  Governor's Commission on Climate Change and the Vermont Council on Rural Development Report respectively.

Some of the components of the combined bill include...

Go to Andrea's Public Policy Page on www.vbsr.org

Participate in VBSR's Strategic Planning Membership Survey
The VBSR board and staff are currently participating in a strategic planning process that will help determine the direction of the organization going forward.  We need member feedback to ensure we are putting ourselves on the right track.  Please take three minutes to follow the link below to a brief survey about what is important to you about  your membership with VBSR:

Take the survey!

The closing date of participation in the survey is Thursday, February 28th, so don't delay.  Take the survey today!
Networking, Social Responsibility and Service Events
If you are interested in sponsoring a VBSR event, contact Rita Bevacco at ritab@vbsr.org or call 802-862-8347

Vermont Foodbank Community Service Project

Thurs, Feb 28, 11am - 4pm, Vermont Foodbank, 33 Parker Road, Wilson Industrial Park, Barre, VT.  Lunch 11 - noon, Community Service, 12 - 4.  E-mail info@vbsr.org or call 802-862-8347 to register.  Read more...

VBSR Get-Together hosted by VSECU
Thurs, Feb 28, from 5:30 - 7:30pm, Vermont State Employees Credit Union, One Bailey Ave., Montpelier, VT.  E-mail info@vbsr.org or call 802-862-8347 to register.  Read more...

VBSR Spring Conference
and 2008 VBSR Terry Ehrich Awards Dinner
  • VBSR Terry Ehrich Awards Dinner, Tues evening, May 13, 2008
  • VBSR Conference, all day, Wed, May 14, 2008, "Business Climate Change," Champlain College, Burlington

High Mowing Seeds a Plaintiff in Suit Against Sugar Beets
Northshire Books

Negative Impacts on Crops, Business, Environment, and Consumer Rights Cited

San Francisco, CA, January 23, 2008 - Today, farmers, food safety advocates, and conservation groups filed suit in federal court challenging the deregulation of herbicide-tolerant "Roundup Ready" sugar beets by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Attorneys from the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice are representing plaintiffs Organic Seed Alliance, Sierra Club, High Mowing Organic Seeds, and the Center for Food Safety in the lawsuit, which seeks a thorough assessment of environmental, health, and associated economic impacts of the deregulation as required by federal law.

Vermont Adaptive Program Helps Visually Impaired Skiers

Blind SkierAnyone who's ever given the sport of skiing a try knows it can be a very humbling experience, especially in the beginning.

But imagine heading down the mountain without being able to see.

The woman we're about to meet doesn't have to imagine the experience. She lives it, and loves it. She is almost totally blind, but with the help of guides who volunteer for the Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports program, she is able to take part in the sport she loves like anyone else.

We went to Pico Mountain recently to find out what it takes to help guide a sightless skier down the slopes.

Listen to the entire VPR interview...
Being Green is Hot -- but Beware

Brian DunkielFrom the Burlington Free Press, My Turn, published Jan 28, 2008, by Brian Dunkiel who serves on the VBSR Board of Directors and is an Attorney at Shems Dunkiel Kassel and Saunders PLLC

There is a renewed consensus that Vermont's "green" brand is an asset to the Vermont economy. The traditional business trade associations are telling their members what some other businesses, such as Seventh Generation, Ben & Jerry's, Gardener's Supply Co., Green Mountain Power and numerous other agricultural and food product brands, have known for many years -- being green is good for business.

However, in the zeal to capture a perceived new market advantage, Vermont businesses need to be careful. In this evolving green marketplace lies legal risk, along with the potential to harm Vermont's green brand that has served the state so well.

Many consumers have become informed about green claims such as recycled, biodegradable, natural and organic. Recently, the call for action to address global warming has led manufacturers and service providers to add new terms to their marketing, such as "carbon neutral" and "carbon offsets." In announcing the administration's climate plan in December, even Gov. Douglas suggested the potential for the state of Vermont to enter the carbon offset marketplace with a "Vermont Green Standard."

King Arthur Flour Becomes a Founding B Corporation™
King Arthur Flour
Employee-Owned Company and Premier Baking Resource is Certified

February 12, 2008 - Norwich, Vt. - The King Arthur Flour Company, founded in 1790 and the nation's oldest flour company, was recently certified as a Founding B Corporation, setting a new corporate standard for social and environmental performance. B (Beneficial) Corporations are a new type of purpose-driven corporation that create benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders. To become certified, B Corporations must meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards, and amend their corporate governing documents to incorporate the interests of employees, community and the environment.

Our Newsletter Sponsor

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INTERESTED IN SPONSORING VBSR'S NEWSLETTER?  E-mail Carina Driscoll at carinad@vbsr.org or call 802-862-8347 to secure a space today.

Entrepreneurship Week!
Feb 24 - Mar 1
Helping Entrepreneurs Build Political Power, Luncheon & Advocacy Training
Tues, Feb 26,
11:30 - 3:30pm,
Capitol Plaza, Montpelier, $25, lunch included. 
To register: (800)639-1053

Speakers: Rep. Gaye Symington, Speaker of the House; Joanne D'Arcangelo

Topics:  How do you tell your story in a way that is salient and persuasive?
How do we build a political network at the base to support micro and small businesses?  Learn strategies to persuade legislators to support your cause and simple steps for making sure your legislators continue listening.

Legislative Reception to follow...

The Statehouse Cafeteria, Tues, Feb 26, 4 - 6pm

Network with entrepreneurs, business students and teachers, legislators, policy makers, and economic development professionals.  At 5pm, Gov Douglas (invited) will proclaim the week of Feb 24 - Mar 1, 2008 as Entrepreneurship Week Vermont.

For more Vermont Entrepreneurship Week events, visit www.VTSBDC.org
Welcome New VBSR Members!
Stone Environmental

The Final Connection

Population Media Center (PMC)

Bebop Baby Shop, LLC

Leadership Performance Institute

Conservest Management

Park Light Inn

The New Homestead Bed & Breakfast

Good Point Recycling

Stone Hearth Inn

Onion River Animal Hospital

LivingFuture Foundation

VBSR Bookshelf
Growing Local Value

By Laura Hammel, Gun Denhart

Growing Local Value
brought to you by Vermont bookseller:

Bad Samaritans
 Entrepreneur Camp!
Stonyfield Farms Logo
The School of Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University presents the Stonyfield Farm Entrepreneurship Institute, a "boot camp" for community-minded entrepreneurs. The event will be held on campus on Thursday, March 27 and Friday, March 28, 2008.

More Information

Registration Form

Employer Guide to Help Employees Take Advantage of Federal Benefits
2007 Employer Guide Banner
Corporate Voices for Working Families, a nonprofit corporate membership organization in Washington, D.C., has released its 2007 Employer Guide: Educate Your Employees About the Benefits They've Earned.

The guide includes information on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Advance EITC, the Child Tax Credit, Medicaid/State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Food Stamps, Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) centers.

View the Employer 2007 Guide
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60 Lake Street, Suite 3G
Burlington, VT 05401

Our mission is to foster a business ethic in Vermont that recognizes the opportunity and responsibility of the business community to set a high standard for protecting the natural, human, and economic environments of our citizens.

We are commited to a multiple bottom line approach to business that values people, planet and profit.  For more information about our organization visit info@vbsr.org

Membership Information