March 2016 | VCN Newsletter
Advocacy Alert:
House Economic Development Bill Passes, Includes Vermont Creative Network

Last week, the Vermont House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development passed a comprehensive Omnibus bill, H. 868aimed at catalyzing economic development in and through Vermont's creative economy. The bill includes H. 820, written to establish the Vermont Creative Network.

This bill also :
  • rewrites the statute governing the Vermont Economic Growth Incentive Program and extends the program until 2026
  • includes a comprehensive rewrite of laws governing how business entities convert from one form to another. 
  • creates more flexibility for overseers of Vermont Economic Development Authority
  • allocates funding for a Southern Vermont economic development program
  • improves the process for reaching service agreements between regional development entities and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Over 145 pages long, this comprehensive Economic Development Bill will now travel to House Ways and Means and then to the House Appropriations Committee. If passed, it will cross over to the Senate in April. H. 868 has made great progress in 2016 and we will keep you apprised of its journey toward its final destination: the Governor's Desk!

Network Update: RDCs Sign on!

Vermont's Regional Development Corporations (RDCs) recently got on board as a Creative Network partner. The state of Vermont, through its Agency of Commerce and Community Development, works with regional Development Corporations as well as Planning Corporations. 

Zon Eastes and Liz Ruffa presented at the RDC meeting in early March. This led to an offer from the board to become an active partner in the Network's development.

The RDCs join current network partners Common Good Vermont, the Emergent Media Center of Champlain College, the Vermont Department of Libraries, and the Vermont Downtown Program (ACCD). Together, these partners are part of the Steering Team that oversees network planning and evaluation at the statewide level. Welcome RDCs!
Spotlight: Assets in Action

On the national front, learn more about the recently proposed Create Actintroduced on Tuesday, March 8 by U.S. Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico at national Arts Advocacy Day. The proposed bill would help artists, entrepreneurs, and workers employed in cultural education and tourism better access federal programs and resources to grow their businesses and share their artwork with local communities.

Here in Vermont, important work has framed creativity as a lever for shaping and driving our state. The Vermont Center for Rural Development's Advancing Vermont's Creative Economy has served as central inspiration for the development of the Vermont Creative Network. Produced in 2004, that study engaged hundreds of Vermonters. Twelve years later it is still right on target!
Sector News

Maker Spaces are popping up everywhere! 

New creativity-inspiring shared work environments are paving the way for fertile business incubation and collaboration across the state. 

A new partnership between Burlington Generator and Vermont Technical College will expand design and fabrication opportunities and enlarge a growing university innovation consortium. 

Read about Vermont's growing maker space community
Vermont Creative Network
Vermont Arts Council
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