VBSR Welcomes and Thanks our Newest Gold Member!
Thanks too to our newest business and individual members!
David Carris, S. Burlington
Barbara Church, St. Albans
Katie Ettman, Burlington
Danny Hopkins, HInesburg
Harrison Neuert, Richmond
Beautiful Business: The Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer"
By: Judy Wicks (VBSR Spring Conference Keynote Speaker!)
brought to you by:
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 committed to a multiple bottom line approach to business that values people, planet and profit.
Gearing up for the Spring Conference, Welcoming New VBSR Staff!
We are so excited about our upcoming Annual Spring Conference set for May 14th at the UVM Davis Center. We have some great keynoter speakers and workshops lined up! Come learn, network, and get inspired by your colleagues. It is going to be a fantastic day! Please register here
. We can't wait to see you!
Spring also brings office staffing changes. We have bid a very fond farewell to Becky and Luke who are heading west to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (see their blog)
and extend a very warm welcome to Roxanne Vought and Chris Lavelle. Roxanne will be taking over the Vermont Intern Program (see her message below), and Chris will be running the Business Energy Action campaign. Please learn a bit about your talented VBSR staff team here
See you May 14!
Andrea Cohen, VBSR Executive Director
VBSR's 2013 Spring Conference
UVM's Davis Center, Burlington, VT - Tuesday, May 14
Our 23rd Annual Spring Conference is designed to inspire and inform! Featuring two keynote addresses, 14 workshops, 40+ exhibitors, 350+ attendees, and lots of terrific networking opportunities, the day is not to be missed.
Please join us in a big round of applause for our Keynote and Lunch Underwriters, the Vermont Community Loan Fund and MVP Health Care respectively, for their support of this year's conference. Their support has enabled us to include two out-of-state keynoters (Judy Wicks and Bart Houlohan) as well as provide a Localvore menu for the day!
For complete conference details, including keynote bios, workshop details, panel participants, and schedule, please visit our Spring Conference website.
Twitter: @VBSR #vbsrspring
This Issue of Enews Sponsored By:
The numbers are in! In 2012 and 2013, Local First Vermont distributed almost 6,000 Buy Local Books through more than 40 retail outlets and 10 schools throughout Chittenden, Addison, Lamoille and Washington counties.
Local First Vermont: Buy Local Book Coupon & Ad Sales Starting
Deadline for inclusion June 1st
The Buy Local Book is a terrific way to promote your locally owned business! To see how the 2013-2014 Buy Local Book can benefit your business, take a few minutes to check out the virtual tour of the book on the LFVT website, where you will also find everything you need to sign up for an ad and/or coupon placement.
And don't forget: the deadline to sign up is June 1st. Contact Calen
to find out more.
This month's new LVFT Members:
Advance Humanity, Woodstock
Burlington Telecom, Burlington
Liz Lovely Inc., Waitsfield
Tip Top Pottery, White River Junction
And don't forget to Buy Local First!
|A Message from the New Intern Program Manager
Greetings from the Internship Program Manager:
Roxanne Vought settles in
I'm thrilled to be working on this very important program. Internships set the course for my career, and my own experience of working with interns in both Higher Education and as an HR Manager has been extremely rewarding. I very much look forward to working with you to meet your needs. Please feel free to contact me at any time with questions or suggestions on how to improve your experience with the program.
With spring semester coming to a close, many students are reaching out to Vermont businesses in search of meaningful internship opportunities. Your business could benefit! Many summer positions have already been filled, but there is still plenty time to find qualified candidates. Getting started is as easy as visiting internvt.org and filling out a short position description form. Contact Roxanne Vought at firstname.lastname@example.org or
(802) 862-8347 for more information.
Public Policy Update
Session gearing up to wind down
Vermont lawmakers are just a few weeks away from the end of the 2013 session and are still facing some big decisions before they adjourn. The state budget, a proposed slate of new taxes and bills on everything from campaign finance reform to death with dignity could still pass. Here's an update on some of the bills that VBSR is tracking:
- Health Care Reform: The state released rates last month for Vermont Health Connect, the insurance exchange that opens for enrollment in October, but House and Senate lawmakers are wrangling over subsidies for low-income residents who will face steeper out-of-pocket prices under Governor Shumlin's most recent proposal. VBSR supports more funding in the Exchanges to reduce the cost of health care for Vermonters.
- Energy and Efficiency: Senators ultimately rejected a ban on new wind energy developments in Vermont, passing a bill that had no regulatory teeth. Meanwhile, the House's thermal efficiency bill - which overwhelmingly passed that chamber - now sits in the Senate and has no new appropriations attached. VBSR believes we should invest in home-heating efficiency and more in-state renewable energy.
- GMO Labeling: The House Agriculture Committee easily approved a bill requiring the labeling of all GMO foods sold in Vermont, but that bill has languished since then. The House Judiciary Committee took the proposal up last week, but it appears unlikely to pass in this session. VBSR believes consumers have a right to know what is in their food.
- Equal Pay: The House passed this bill last month and it is now quickly making its way through the Senate chambers. An update and expansion of the state's laws prohibiting gender discrimination in pay, the bill also encourages businesses to consider flexible work schedules for employees when appropriate. VBSR supports equal pay legislation.
- Marijuana Decriminalization: The House passed a bill ending criminal sanctions for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana this month and the bill seems likely to arrive on the Senate floor before the end of the session. VBSR believes that small amounts of marijuana should be decriminalized.Follow our Policy Blog.
| 2013 Health Care Exchange
Small business meetings and public forums
Navigating to the new exchange can seem daunting, but we have you covered with two different resources. First, Vermont Health Connect staff will be hosting a Small Business Forum in Springfield on April 24, as well as a Public Forum in Manchester on April 30. To learn more about either, check out their website.
Second, join VBSR at our spring conference on May 14 and attend the "Health Insurance Evolution: Understanding and Preparing for Changes to our Healthcare System" workshop. An expert panel provides the most current information available, identifies resources available to businesses, and answers your questions about transitioning to the Vermont Health Benefit Exchange marketplace. Not to be missed by businesses with less than 50 employees! Panelists include:
- Bram Kleppner, CEO, Danforth Pewter; Co-Chair, Medicaid & Exchange Advisory Board; Member, Governor's Business Advisory Board on Health Care Financing
- Robin Lunge, Director, Health Care Reform, State of Vermont Agency of Administration
- Nicole Weidman, Small Business Project Director, Vermont Health Connect
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility means a lot of things to a lot of people. The "socially responsible" moniker spans a wide range of ideas, from livable wages to environmental responsibility. One of our programs, Business Energy Action, is helping more than 50 Vermont businesses bring social responsibility to life while helping the bottom line for their companies. BEA Featured in Burlington Free Press
Energy challenge powers up
Companies that participate, from Bennington to Springfield to right here in Chittenden County, are reducing their energy consumption by 5 percent per year for the next three years at a minimum. They represent energy and healthy food businesses (such as NRG Systems and City Market) and also many other types of companies such as banks and car dealerships, retailers and lawyers, food producers and utilities.
All of these companies believe in a unifying principal: that energy efficiency measures help them to meet the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. VBSR has helped these companies to benchmark their energy use, and then works with Efficiency Vermont, Vermont Gas and Burlington Electric to find ways to meet or exceed the 5 percent goal...
Read the full Burlington Free Press article here.
Ben Cohen joins
"The Vermont Conversation"
Wednesdays, 1-2 PM
On Wednesday April 17, "The Vermont Conversation" featured Ben Cohen, founder of Ben & Jerry's. Cohen discusses politics, business, ice cream, and his life as a socially responsible business tycoon. The last month also featured a Spring Conference preview with conference keynoter Judy Wicks. Listen to either show here, or if you missed any other recent shows, check out the full list or click on a specific show below:
April 3, 2013: What Does it Really Take to be a Socially Responsible Business?
March 27, 2013: The Ski Show
March 20, 2013: Should Vermont be an Independent Country?
Successes: "Turning a Communications Plan into Pictures"
J Andrews Marketing is an independent marketing consultancy and agency located in Westford, VT. We joined the Marketplace in our early months and we earned VBSR Trade Credits by doing communications planning with Sammel Signs. We've spent our Trade Credits from that transaction on working toward some of our own internal marketing goals. Some of the great things we've done include:
- Attended the VBSR Fall Conference, where we met so many exceptional business leaders from Southern Vermont.
- Got Social Media headshots from Letter 10 Creative. This was on our annual marketing plan to accomplish and the Marketplace allowed us to trade for it, making it a very affordable task to accomplish.
- Purchased restaurant gift cards that are being used in a Facebook giveaway to help build our community of followers.
"The Marketplace has allowed me to connect with VBSR members in a new way. It's exciting to be able to help each other move the ball forward, and to build new relationships. I'd encourage anyone to give the Marketplace a try, it's really contributed to the success of J Andrews Marketing." - Julia Andrews
Create your own success story with the VBSR Marketplace. Get started today!
VBSR Benefit Corner:
Reduced Conference Registration
Substantial conference savings
Plan on attending the Spring Conference in Burlington on May 14?
Did you know that VBSR members save $40 per ticket on Early Bird Registration? AND, there's no limit to this discount! Want to send 3 people from your company or organization? That's a $120 value on top of other VBSR membership benefits!Join VBSR today
to take advantage of this special benefit!
And don't forget to register for the Spring Conference
. Early bird registration
through May 7!
|New Chapter Hosts Get-Together in Southern Vermont
Over 80 attendees pack event
"Southern Vermont is cool," remarked New Chapter Director of Sustainability and VBSR Board Member Sara Newmark amid a myriad of applause during VBSR's March 27 Networking Get-Together.
Over 80 like-minded business peers turned out to hear more about what New Chapter has been up to recently and connect with fellow VBSR members in Southern Vermont. If you missed the event, check out the pictures here.
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News items will be posted in the "Member News" section of our website and will be considered for inclusion in VBSR's monthly E-News.
The 2013 Best Places to Work in Vermont Winners were announced last month, and VBSR is proud to say that 2/3 of the winners are VBSR members, including the #1 Best Small and Large Companies, Fuse Marketing and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, respectively. Congrats to the following VBSR member award winners!
Small and Medium:
Fuse LLC (First Place!)
Wild Apple Graphics
Vermont College of Fine Arts
Gallagher, Flynn & Company, LLP
Farm and Wilderness Foundation
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (First Place!)
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
King Arthur Flour
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
Propeller Media Works, LLC has been recognized again for creative web design. Of the three websites submitted to this year's Horizon Interactive Awards international competition, each has won honors in multiple categories. Awards go to Bromley Ski Resort, Shawnee Peak Ski Resort, and Propeller for their own responsive website. Propeller specializes in custom desktop, responsive, and mobile websites for ski resorts and unique brands nationwide. According to Dave Gibson, Owner and Creative Director: "We attribute these awards to our strong collaboration with great clients, and our team's 16 years of experience delivering highly technical and creative custom websites. Check out the awards.
The VSJF Flexible Capital Fund L3C (The Flex Fund) announces specialty food producers, Liz Lovely, Inc., as the fifth investment in an expanding, mission based royalty financing portfolio committed to growing Vermont food system, forest product, and renewable energy companies by providing "equity-like" loans that are repaid through revenue sharing. Sixteen varieties of gluten free, vegan, non-GMO Liz Lovely cookies are handcrafted in Waitsfield and distributed to over 2000 grocery retailers nationwide. Liz Lovely was at capacity in their space at Irasville Business Park in Waitsfield and an estimated $200,000 in capital was needed to grow and expand the company. Read the full story.