Combined funding of up to $550,000, plus business resilience training announced

Burlington, Vt. – May 4, 2020 – BTV Ignite, a public/private partnership in Burlington, Vt., Burlington Mayor
Miro Weinberger, and Burlington Telecom, announced an accelerated timeline for community investments, as
well as new programs developed in partnership with the University of Vermont and a wide range of community
partners focused on supporting businesses, our local workforce, and economic development. These
community investment funds, which will total $3 million over 10 years, are a result of the competitive process
directed by the Mayor and supported by the City Council that culminated in the sale of Burlington Telecom. The
elements of the announcement include:
    - Accelerating the next round of $50,000 workforce development grants for Burlington-based STEM &
workforce training, focusing on programming for Burlington youth;
    - Up to $500,000 in new investments for Burlington-based businesses in 2020, including about $200,000
of investments expected to be announced in the coming weeks, with funds drawn from the Burlington
Telecom Innovation Fund;
    - A retail resiliency webinar, How to Move from Storefront to Shopify in Under an Hour, created in
partnership with the University of Vermont’s Continuing and Distance Education office to help local
merchants learn and leverage e-commerce solutions focused on building resilience;
    - A new BTV Ignite-led Burlington Small Business Digital Presence Program, that will connect small
businesses with a range of technical support to develop an online presence. The program’s
development follows a tech sector business impact and needs assessment conducted by BTV Ignite.

“The BTV Ignite and Burlington Telecom community investments announced today will directly benefit youth
and innovative homegrown businesses in Burlington,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “The fact that these
investments are being accelerated now, amidst enormous economic headwinds, should be reassuring to
everyone who cares about the future, and the economic strength of this great city. I am thankful to BTV Ignite,
its board, and our partners at Schurz Communications for working hard to make these opportunities available
now, at this critical moment in the COVID-19 economic crisis. With everyone working together and pitching in
however they can, we will make it through this generational challenge.”
“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BTV Ignite and our partners are laser focused on supporting our
community’s local businesses and workforce,” said Adam Roof, BTV Ignite Project Manager. “We are face to
face with an economic crisis that has put thousands of Vermonters out of work. Our recovery will be
hard-fought, and the initiatives announced today are aimed to provide immediate relief and look forward to the
needs of tomorrow. We will get through this together.”

    - STEM and Technical Skill Fund
Initially planned for October 2020, the application for the BTV Ignite’s STEM and Technical Skill Fund is now
open. A streamlined application and review process has been implemented to meet the immediate and
emerging needs of Burlington workers facing hardship as result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BTV Ignite STEM and Technical Skill Fund was made possible through commitments secured by the
Mayor and City Council in the asset purchase agreement formalized during the recent sale of Burlington
Telecom. Funds are granted to organizations teaching technical skills and supporting STEM education for
Burlington youth and creating new economic opportunities for the Burlington workforce. Funded though
Burlington Telecom, this local support fund will grant $50,000 annually through 2029 under the administration
and management of BTV Ignite.

Michael Seaver, Division President at People’s United Bank. a longtime funder of BTV Ignite, said, “We are
pleased to partner with BTV Ignite, the City of Burlington and the other BTV Ignite partners to accelerate
investment in our community, our businesses and our youth. Vermont is where nearly 900 of our employees
work and raise their families. Finding ways to provide workforce training and technical skills to Vermonters so
that they can find work, is important to all of us. Finding alternative ways for our youth to learn has been a
focus for us at People’s United Bank. Partners such as Generator, teach skills that engage our youth and
develop skills for a successful career.”

In 2019, The BTV Ignite board selected Generator, a design and fabrication consortium for entrepreneurs, and
Mercy Connections, an educational organization creating opportunities for women, to receive $20,000 and
$30,000 respectively. The nonprofits were chosen for their demonstrated focus on helping start and grow new
businesses, create new jobs and promote the skills needed to fill them in Burlington.

Learn more and apply:
Inaugural investments from The Burlington Telecom Innovation Fund will be made in the coming weeks, and
Schurz Communications, Inc (the owner of BT) has committed to invest up to $500,000 in 2020 in a spring and
fall investment round. The Fund’s Investment Advisory Committee is in the final stages of evaluating and
selecting investments in Burlington-based businesses with priority given to businesses founded or run by
women, people of color, people with disabilities, and other historically disadvantaged groups.

“These investment dollars are much needed at a time where access to capital will make or break a business
competing in local and global marketplaces in transition,” said Mike Loucy, General Manager of Burlington
Telecom and BTV Ignite Board Member, “This Fund is designed to inject capital into the Burlington
entrepreneurial ecosystem to help startups. The Fund aims to support local, diverse entrepreneurs, who in turn
will increase community contribution of invested companies to Burlington’s economy, fulfill diversity goals,
bring attention and interest generated by the investments to the local economy, and an increase in the ability to
keep businesses local as they grow and raise additional capital.”

The Fund has an available capital pool of $2.5MM over 10 years, to be used for investments in flexible
structures allocated across a mix of startups and more established growth companies. You can learn more
about the Fund here:

    - Retail Resiliency Webinar
How to Move from Storefront to Shopify in Under an Hour, presented in partnership with UVM Continuing and
Distance Education (CDE), aims to make important resources available to the business community as they
adapt to events related to COVID-19.

Shopify is the fastest growing online store builder, with over 1.2 million active websites worldwide. This webinar
will demonstrate how storefront businesses can quickly set up an online presence using the Shopify platform in
a few easy steps. This session will include the basics of signup, adding products, customizing design, plus
shipping and payment options.

Sarah Beal, owner of Common Deer in Downtown Burlington who will be highlighted as a case study during
the webinar, believes promoting these resources are critical during these times. “Small, local retail has been
impacted more than most industries by the COVID-19 pandemic. Every business who wants to remain
competitive must have a strong digital presence and a network of support, because the hard truth is foot traffic
will likely never be the same. Shopify and digital advertising are highly effective in driving virtual traffic and
much needed sales.”

The webinar will be led by Andrew Stoller, founder and President of Stoller & Company Inc., a web design and
development firm in Baltimore, Maryland. He has over 25 years of experience in e-Commerce web design and
development, lead generation, and search engine optimization.

This free webinar will be May 7th from 12:30 – 1:30 PM. Register here:

    - Burlington Small Business Digital Presence Program
The Burlington Small Business Digital Presence Program, is being launched to create connections between
businesses who would benefit from improved digital presence and local e-commerce / digital marketing
professionals able to provide technical assistance. Financial support for these services are also available
through partnership with the City’s Resource and Recovery Center (RRC).

“Initiatives like this provide Burlington’s small business community with much needed support so that they can
quickly transform their businesses to accommodate the changing retail landscape,” said Kara Alnasrawi,
Executive Director of the Church Street Marketplace.

These resources, along with a peer support network of local merchants to support one another, have been
developed in partnership with the Church Street Marketplace, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of
Commerce, the Burlington Business Association, Common Deer, The Vermont Center for Emerging
Technologies (VCET), Study Hall, and Hula.

You can learn more about the program and get involved here:

    - Tech Sector Business Impact and Needs Assessment
In an effort to understand the evolving scope and nature of the individual and collective economic injury
occurring and how to best and most rapidly deploy resources as they become available, BTV Ignite has
released a Tech Sector Business Impact and Needs Assessment. While we still do not yet know the scope and
duration of the community and economic obstacles that lie ahead, we do know that we need information about
how this crisis is impacting Burlington’s Technology Sector. Over 20 companies have filled out the survey to

This survey has been released in partnership with The City of Burlington’s Resource and Recovery Center
(RRC), Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET), The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of
Commerce, LaunchVT, Generator, Burlington Business Association (BBA), Hula, and others.

You can complete the survey here: Tech Sector Business Impact and Needs Assessment

About BTV Ignite

BTV Ignite is focused on bringing together the energy, resources, and values of the Burlington, Vermont
community to create opportunities to start and grow new businesses, create new jobs and promote the skills
needed to fill them. The nonprofit provides STEM experiences for students, helps launch ‘smart’ city initiatives,
and ensures these opportunities are inclusive and accessible for everyone. BTV Ignite was founded in 2014
and is sponsored by the leading government, business, and academic stakeholders of Burlington, including
The City of Burlington, People’s United Bank, The University of Vermont, UVM Medical Center, Hula,
Burlington Telecom, The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Burlington Electric
Department. It’s founding mission is to help take advantage of Burlington’s city-wide fiber optic gigabit network
infrastructure and unlock the potential of this world-class digital resource to drive sustainable economic and
community development. Learn more at

About Burlington Telecom
Burlington Telecom is Burlington, Vermont’s only 100 percent fiber-optic network, focused on providing
transparent pricing and the best customer service. Burlington Telecom is a core institutional partner for BTV
Ignite, supporting the creation of a sustainable tech eco-system aimed at generating new, well-paying jobs in
Burlington and providing professional careers for young Vermonters.

Media Contact:
Adam Roof
BTV Ignite Project Manager
[email protected]

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