Vermont is a scenic state on the east coast, with everything from downtown, busy areas to suburban neighborhoods to mountain escapes. The landscape is beautiful, lifestyle there is diverse, there’s plenty of culture and entertainment, and the people are friendly and welcoming. Although there are many reasons to consider living in Vermont in general, opening a business is one reason to truly consider making a move east. Vermont has supportive chamber of commerce, vibrant communities that support local businesses, and endless possibilities when it comes to business opportunities and industries. There’s a reason the state is home to so many cutting-edge companies and was ranked 8th in the Index of Entrepreneurial Activity by the Kaufman Foundation in 2012. Vermont has a ton to offer business owners looking to either grow their current business or start up in a new industry.
Benefits of Business in Vermont
A big reason to open a business in Vermont is to reap some of the benefits the state has to offer. There are a ton of programs and services available to help small businesses grow. Partners like the Procurement Technical Assistance Center, the Vermont Economic Progress Council, and the Vermont Training Program all assist businesses in some way, whether it be helping companies learn how to sell their business to the government or understanding how to get approval for financing and tax incentives. The Vermont Training Program specifically supports businesses by getting future employees ready for hire. The workforce here is supported by these training programs that help to keep them as skilled as possible. This helps to keep the state’s economy competitive, and also helps those in need of jobs to gain skills and get hired.
The state is also close to many major markets which is helpful when pitching to larger companies or when it comes to shipping product. New York City and Boston are both fairly close by both car or airplane. In Montreal, which is also quite close, the Port of Montreal gives business owners access to the worldwide shipping. The state even has a center that gives assistance for international business. International Trade hosts programs to educate on working with other countries, trade shows, seminars and even has one-on-one consulting for those in need of extra understanding in international business.
Vermont may have the smallest state economy, however it is still a big-hitter in certain economic areas. It’s mountainous terrain makes it an important factor for industries surrounding agriculture, forestry and tourism. It is a wealthy state, and a part of that is because of the industries it supports.
Seeing as it’s the “Green Mountain State,” it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s covered in woodlands. Forestry industries such as timber and logging are important to Vermont’s economy. There are many varieties of trees, some meant for logging, others used for the production of maple syrup. In fact, about 25 percent of the United State’s maple syrup production is done here. As over-logging has Vermont’s forestry industry somewhat declining, maple syrup production and other forest moneymakers are taking over.
Maple syrup isn’t the only food production that occurs in Vermont. Agriculture is a large way of life here. Dairy farming has long been an important part of Vermont’s economy. This contributes to specialty foods that are reknowned, like Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Who doesn’t love a good scoop of Chunky Monkey? The increase in demand for specialty cheeses also is creating a need for the dairy industry to continue producing cheeses here. Jobs in agriculture range from animal products - including both meat and dairy - to crop production of corn, soybeans and non-edible crops like cotton or wool. The official state fruit, Apples, are also the largest fruit crop in Vermont. Organic farming is beginning to become more in demand as well, causing a big expansion of organic farms in Vermont, which also helps to keep the agriculture industry strong here.
As high end cheeses continue to keep Vermont’s agriculture and dairy farming busy, it is no surprise that wine is just as in demand. In fact, wine has become a big industry for vermont with almost 20 wineries in the state! The reason for the growth is a mix of an increase in wine consumption, as well as the environment of Vermont being a place where vineyards can thrive. Grapes varieties in Vermont tend to do well, which allows for multiple types of wines to be produced and have the quality people crave.
Great cheese and wine don’t just make the state’s economy and residents happy, they also attract tourists from across the United States. The small population of Vermont makes it the perfect getaway from the big city or bustling towns that many areas are growing into. It has beautiful forest areas, great local food and produce and a quaint feel throughout the entire place. Creating a business that helps others to enjoy the ski areas, camping sites and natural recreation is a natural way to take advantage of what is already attracting people. Tourist service businesses like guides and experts can be a big moneymaker, as can production or ski/snowboard gear, outdoor equipment, and more luxurious businesses like resorts, lodges and restaurants. Taking advantage of the local goods in Vermont can make your tourist business stand out, and can contribute to Vermont’s economy and your company.
Despite the wine, cheese, recreation and tourism, the economy in Vermont isn’t completely dependent on industries that are based on nature. In fact, manufacturing has been growing greatly in the past few years. Major manufacturer IBM accounts for 25 percent of jobs in the industry in Vermont and plays a big role in the growth of the industry.The company alone is responsible for one billion dollars worth of the state’s income annually, which gives business owners an idea of how much revenue there is in manufacturing in the Green Mountain State. Powerhouse IBM is just one company, but there’s still room for smaller businesses to make their name here.
Whether it’s the attraction of spending time outdoors and getting back to nature, or the idea of running a business in a smaller, but impactful state, Vermont is a great area to consider building or buying a business.