Vermont Agriculture Development Program
The VT Sustainable Jobs Fund and Farm Viability Enhancement Program at VHCB are pleased to provide this joint initiative – the Vermont Agriculture Development Program (VADP) - to assist value-added agricultural enterprises with their expansion plans and needs.
What is the VADP?
The VADP supports the growth and long-term success of Vermont-based, value-added agricultural enterprises that are building markets and infrastructure for other Vermont agricultural businesses and local or regional food systems development. VADP will provide critical venture coaching to a small number of select businesses each year to help them obtain the right match of growth capital (e.g., debt, subordinated debt, convertible debt, equity, royalty financing) for their size, scale and stage of business.
VADP will partner with other business service providers such as VT-SBDC, regional development corporations, UVM Extension,and others as needed to help client businesses in their efforts to grow and expand.
What Services Will VADP Provide?
VADP will provide critical venture coaching to a small number of select businesses each year to help them obtain the right match of growth capital for their stage of business. VADP’s services are designed to help these promising enterprises reach success and scale sooner than they otherwise might. The VADP will identify, cultivate and select strategically promising agricultural entrepreneurs and enterprises to monitor, coach and directly assist with the following set of services:
- Wrap-around growth and expansion assessment, planning and financial assistance, including development of the growth plan and its financial package;
- Readiness Consulting designed to prepare agricultural entrepreneurs for raising capital. This will include: identification of appropriate capital sources; due diligence and vetting of business opportunities; preparation and submission of financing requests including assistances with preparing the pitch; and negotiation with capital providers;
- Identifying and linking agricultural entrepreneurs to technical assistance not directly tied to raising capital. This may include: location assessments; marketing and branding assistance; permitting and regulatory assistance; operational analysis and planning; food science technical assistance; product research and development; sustainability/stewardship practices and identifying potential sources of R&D funding;
- Networking emerging businesses and their managers with more seasoned leaders of mature agriculture-related businesses, to provide immediate peer advising and also seed ongoing learning relationships within the agricultural and food enterprise sector; and
- Networking entrepreneurs with a variety of capital providers within and outside the region.
VADP efforts are designed to accelerate the growth and expansion of fast-growing Vermont value-added agricultural enterprises and strengthen the management capacity of the entrepreneurs who own and manage these businesses.
Is Your Business Right For VADP?
Eligible applicants include value-added producers, processors and distributors of Vermont-grown food and fiber and agricultural infrastructure businesses such as cheese aging, on- or off-farm processing, composting, marketing or distribution. In addition to adding value to Vermont’s working landscape, preferred companies will have seasoned managers, at least two years of operating history and average annual sales in excess of $250,000. Some of our criteria include:
- Experienced entrepreneur managing the business who has weathered one or more significant business downturns or “mistakes.”
- Product or service has a growing market and builds infrastructure, enhances value or expands markets for other agricultural businesses in Vermont.
- Management is actively looking to engage with VADP as a partner and can commit the time necessary to both work "on" the business.
- The product or service is not being provided by other Vermont-based businesses and/or is needed by other agricultural businesses in Vermont.
- Business is a for-profit or cooperative corporation or is a nonprofit with a mission that supports Vermont’s working landscape.
UPDATE ON ENROLLMENT: We are currently accepting new clients who we will start working with in the Fall of 2012. In order to begin working with the program, please complete and send us an expression of interest form. The cost to participate in the VADP is $5,000 (flexible payment schedule is available) for each client. We estimate that the year's worth of high quality services we provide to each client is valued at ~$20,000. We have raised funding support for this program from the High Meadows Fund, the John Merck Fund, an anonomous foundation, and the VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets. 100% satisfaction is guaranteed or your cost share payment will be refunded in full.
|Deep Root Cooperative||Johnson|
|The Royal Butcher||Randolph|
|Vermont Livestock Slaughter & Processing
If you have questions about the program, please feel free to contact John Ryan, VADP Program Director, (802) 828-3753 or via email at email@example.com.
|Eden Ice Cider||Newport|
WANTED: Business or Food Industry Consultants
The VSJF, in collaboration with the Farm Viability Enhancement Program and the Vermont Small Business Development Center, is compiling a database of consultants with the expertise to assist our clients. We’re particularly interested in compiling information about consultants who can assist growing Vermont-based agricultural enterprises, specifically those with at least $250,000 in gross sales that are rapidly expanding their market presence, adding new products, relocating, seeking government grants or loans, preparing financial plans and raising capital (debt, equity, grants and loans).
If you have worked with fast-growing businesses (whether agricultural or not) and have an interest in working with us, we want to make certain we know about your expertise, interests and availability. Please let us know more about you by completing the Consultant Inventory Form.