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.
Dear VBSR Members,
We are pleased to share two very important announcements this month! 2013 Terry Ehrich Award for Excellence in Socially Responsible Business
VBSR is pleased to announce that Jan Blomstrann of NRG Systems is the recipient of the 2013 Terry Ehrich Award for Excellence in Socially Responsible Business. This award is given annually to a person exemplifying Terry Ehrich's sustained commitment to the environment, workplace, progressive public policy, and community. We hope you can join us for an evening of celebration and community on September 17th at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center. Please save the date so you can join in! More details can be found here
. Vermont Health Connect and VBSR
You may have heard that VBSR was chosen by Vermont Health Connect to be a "Navigator Organization" to help small businesses and their employees transition to the new Health Insurance Exchange. We have contracted with two talented individuals who are preparing to provide VBSR members with accurate and useful information to help you transition to the new system for purchasing health insurance. Please click here
to learn more about Anissa Lewis and Tim Davis, and to find their contact information. We know you have many questions that you will need answered in order to make thoughtful decisions once enrollment begins in October. Contact Tim and Anissa with any initial questions, review the small business brochure
created by Vermont Health Connect, and stay tuned for information as it develops.
Andrea Cohen, Executive Director
| Health Care Exchange NewsMeet VBSR's Exchange Navigators
New Resource Pages Available
Navigators: We are thrilled to announce the hire of two Vermont Health Connect Navigator Consultants, Tim Davis and Anissa Lewis, who will be available to help small businesses across the state understand and make decisions about moving to the Health Care Exchanges later this year.
In June of 2013, VBSR, working with partners the Vermont Retail Association (VRA) and the Vermont Medical Society (VMS), was awarded a grant by the State of Vermont to help businesses navigate to the Health Care Exchange. As the exchange draws nearer, VBSR's Navigators will be available to talk over the phone and/or in person to help businesses make the right health care decisions for both the organization and its employees. Tim and Anissa will offer tips and advice leading up to the October enrollment opening, and then will even be able to help businesses enroll in Vermont's Health Care Exchange.
Learn more about Anissa and Tim here, and feel free to contact them with early questions (keep in mind that much of the information and resources are still in development!):
Email Anissa or call: (802) 989-4844
Email Tim or call: (802) 324-1920
And check out Vermont Health Connect's new informational brochure for small businesses here.
Resource Pages: We continue to build and update our Health Care Exchange web pages. Click here for access to resources, informational events, and other helpful links.
Networking on the Waterfront and in the NEK
235 attend VBSR Networking Get-Togethers
VBSR headed to the Northeast Kingdom for a Networking Get-Together on June 26 and returned to Burlington on July 16.
Caledonia Spirits hosted the June event, focusing their message on building relationships and using relationships to allow raw agricultural products to be used from start to finish, in more than one artisan product with more than one company.
In July, Lake Champlain International (LCI) hosted the VBSR family on the top floor of Splash at the Boathouse on the Burlington waterfront. Executive Director of LCI James Elhers encouraged business owners to get involved with protecting and restoring the health of the lake for now and generations to come. Photos from Caledonia SpiritsPhotos from Lake Champlain International
| Fall Semester Right Around the Corner|
Plan Ahead for a Fall Intern
Believe it or not, students and recent graduates are already looking for fall opportunities. Let us help connect you with this hardworking population! If you're thinking about hosting a fall intern, now is the time to get started. Getting a position listed is as easy as completing a one-step online form
. We'll then begin sending you qualified applicants!
We've also updated our Employer Resources page to better support you in creating and administering an internship - from writing job descriptions to interview questions and supervisory advice. As always, we are available to assist you directly: Email Roxanne Vought
or call our offices (802) 862-8347.
Public Policy Update
Summer Study Committees
Fall Policy Forums
Policy Survey: Expect to see a link to VBSR's annual summer policy survey sometime in August. This survey should take 10-15 minutes to complete and provides our staff with valuable information on how membership feels on vital issues such as taxes, health care and energy. When that arrives, please take a few moments to let us know what you think.
The Vermont Legislature's 2014 session is only six months away! While next January may seem far away, VBSR is working hard today to get ready for the new session and there are several ways our members can help get involved in the process of forming VBSR policy.
Summer Study Committees:
We are spending the summer and fall looking closely at two key issues as we develop formal policies for VBSR. Our tax study committee began its work Friday morning and our energy project siting committee will likely begin meeting next month. If you are interested in either of these issues, please contact Public Policy Manager Daniel Barlow
VBSR Fall Policy Forums:
Starting in October, VBSR will hit the road to hold several policy forums for members across the state. This is an easy and direct way for our members to let us know what is working for their business, what is not working for their business and what issues we should focus our advocacy efforts on at the Statehouse. Locations and dates will be announced in September and if you want VBSR to visit your part of the state, please let us know
|VBSR Marketplace Questions Answered
140 businesses activated and trading
Is the Marketplace for me? What I can I sell? What about taxes? HOW DOES IT WORK???
The VBSR Marketplace has more participants than ever before, but many business owners still have questions. If any of these questions have been bothering you, we have the answers to these and more.Click here
to read our Marketplace FAQ or email Amy
for answers to questions we may have missed.
"The Vermont Conversation" Covers Variety of Topics
Wednesdays, 1-2 PM
In the last month, "The Vermont Conversation" has covered a range of inspiring topics. Most recently, Duane Peterson and Chris Miller, SunCommon and Ben & Jerry's respectively, stopped by to replicate their presentation from VBSR's 2013 Spring Conference.
Dan Holtz of Liz Lovely also stopped by the studio to give an inspiring talk on doing business from the ground up... twice. (Not to mention surviving ABC's "Shark Tank" reality investing television show.)
Additionally, host David Goodman has worked to tackle issues of migrant justice and slow money, as well as sat down with the new CEO of Seventh Generation to discuss what it takes to compete in the competitive market of household cleaners while staying true to a company's original core values.
In the coming weeks, guest are slated to include Dick Dreissegaker and Judy Geer from Concept 2, Vermont's Dr. Geoff Tabin and the Himalayan Cataract Project and National Geographic journalist Mark Jenkins.
In the meantime, click on a show below to stream "The Vermont Conversation," and don't forget to tune in Wednesday's at 1:00 PM.
July 17, 2013: SunCommon and Ben & Jerry's
July 10, 2013: Liz Lovely
July 3, 2013: Seventh Generation
June 26, 2013: Money and Contentment; Migrant Justice
P.S. VBSR Members... this is YOUR show. Have a topic you'd like us to explore? Email us today.
Company Sets Goal of Zero Kilowatt Hours
Vermont Public Radio (VPR) has been working to improve the energy consumption at their historic building located in Fort Ethan Allen since 2008. The company started with lighting projects, which yielded far greater savings than they ever imagined: 25,000 kilowatt hours per year, to be exact.
More recently, VPR updated all of its thermostats so they can be controlled through a central computer. This allows the company to create warmer and cooler zones that help to keep the entire building in balance. For example, if you work on the side of the building that gets morning sun, the thermostats there will be set to a lower temperature than on the other side of the building. While the company continues to make tweaks when necessary, in general the building is much more comfortable and efficient. The project saved another 31,000 kilowatt hours per year- roughly $4,000. "It also makes my job easier by eliminating calls from employees about the temperature in their area," joked Laurie Kigonya, Human Resources Supervisor/Facilities Manager for Vermont Public Radio.
As a participant in VBSR's Business Energy Action challenge, VPR is committed to reducing its energy consumption by 5% per year. However, they are already tracking toward a whopping 30-35% reduction! In the future, VPR is looking to reduce energy costs at its various tower sites around the state. "The towers are huge energy hogs, so we're looking forward to digging in," said Kigonya. The organization also hopes to combine efficiency measures with the use of renewables, getting their energy use to zero kilowatt hours.
Congrats and good luck to VPR! Check out this list of other BEA Challenge Takers!
Breaking! See BEA story on Fox44.
VBSR Benefit Corner: Host and Sponsor Get-Togethers
VBSR Members Benefit from Hosting Networking Events
Almost every month, VBSR holds a Networking Get-Together at a different business around the state. While each Get-Together can look different (in just the last 4 months we've seen scavenger hunts, raffles, tours, boat rides, and inside and outside venues), a few things remain the same: food and drink and networking will always be available. And our Hosts and Sponsors will always be VBSR Members!
Hosting a Get-Together
What VBSR Provides: VBSR prints and mails invitations to members and some non-members. We also publicize the event through press releases, our web site, and our member e-mail/ENews. VBSR handles all registration and name tags at the event and sets-up, coordinates and MCs the program.
Host Responsibilities: The member/host is responsible for providing the site, a 15-20 minute presentation on a socially responsible business practice, a brief tour of the business (if appropriate), and appetizers/beverages.
Sponsoring a Get-Together
Want to get your name in front of the crowd without doing all the work of hosting an event? Consider sponsoring a Get-Together. Sponsorship costs $200 for events inside of Chittenden County and $175 outside of Chittenden County.
If you are interested in hosting or sponsoring a Get-Together, please email Scott Buckingham. (Please remember that spots are limited and, depending on your location, there may be a waiting list for your area.)
As a Get-Together sponsor, you will receive 60 seconds to speak at event, logo and 75-100 word company description with link to sponsor's website on VBSR event webpage, logo with weblink email invitiations to VBSR's database of businesses in and around the host county, logo on mailed post-card invite to around 700 businesses and on displays at event and social media thank you's and promotion.
Want take advantage of either of these promotional efforts???
Recently Posted Member Jobs:
We want your news and press releases!! Submit or post a story on our Facebook page or send Russ an email...
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.
Chroma Technology Earns B Corporation Certification
Chroma Technology Corp. of Bellows Falls, Vermont is now a certified B Corporation. Employee-owned since its start, and with a strong commitment to precision manufacturing, customer service, and social justice, Chroma sought the certification after recognizing the natural alignment between the two organizations. "Being a Certified B corporation allows us to show the world what we mean when we talk about our corporate responsibility and how we fulfill our commitments to our customers, our employee owners and the community at large," said Chroma Technology founder and president Paul Millman. Read more...
UVM School of Business Unveils New MBA Program
At VBSR's July Networking Get-Together, The UVM School of Business announced the launch of its new 1-year, full-time MBA in Sustainable Entrepreneurship. SEMBA not only prepares students for the ever-changing world of business, it gets them out into the real world faster and better equipped. It's an accelerated program designed to encourage accelerated thinking and doing. Get more info.
ECHO Lake Aquarium & Kids VT Partner on Stormwater Runoff Video Game
Thousands of gallons of stormwater runoff have surged through the streets of Burlington, Vermont, this spring, picking up dirt, chemicals and trash on the way to Lake Champlain. Now a new Vermont-made video game is raising awareness about ways to reduce stormwater runoff in an effort to protect the Lake.
The new Runoff video game, released last month at ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, invites players to use a rain barrel to catch rain before it enters city storm drains. When the barrel is full, players empty it in a garden, which filters the water before it soaks into the aquifer (underground beds of rock, sediment or soil that hold water) or reaches our rivers and lakes. The 8-bit-inspired video game was developed for independent newsweekly Seven Days and its monthly parenting publication, Kids VT. The staff of ECHO helped guide Runoff's development and offered to host the arcade version of the game as an exhibit this summer.
Apex Sealing Purchases Like-Nu Electric Motor Repair
It was announced recently that Apex Sealing Inc. of Fairfax, Vermont has purchased Like-Nu Electric Motor Repair of Lowell, VT. Apex' new motor division will be called Peak Electric Motors. Apex Sealing, established in 2004, is an international supplier of mechanical seals for pumps and mixers. Apex has expanded its current 10,000 square ft. building in the Arrowhead Industrial Park in Georgia, VT to accommodate Peak Electric Motor's new warehouse and service facility.
NOFA-VT Premiers New TV/Video Series
NOFA-VT is proud to announce the premiere of two new series on Mount Mansfield Community Television (MMCTV Channel 15), Vimeo and YouTube! Click here for information on how to tune into "
NOFA-VT Food and Farm Policy Update with Dave Rogers" and "Farmers Talk with Jon Wright."