SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Black River Innovation Campus (BRIC) is launching the latest iteration of Actuator, a free eight-week entrepreneurship program designed to help tech and tech-enabled startups get their business concepts off the ground. The course provides a suite of tools and insights to support a “founder’s mindset” for a lifetime of entrepreneurship. The new version of Actuator engages entrepreneurs at various stages of business development, and introduces regional innovators to BRIC’s vibrant startup ecosystem and NASA Goddard tech transfer partnership.
Actuator’s weekly workshops empower founders to engage with guest subject matter experts (SMEs) from throughout the country. Founders regularly connect with assigned mentors to apply learnings and develop their business concepts, and additional resources are available for businesses in the advanced manufacturing, advanced computing, and tech transfer verticals. The curriculum culminates in a capstone event where founders present what they’ve learned, share successes and anticipated milestones, and identify what support they need to move their concepts forward.
Actuator’s lifestyle program is a core component of the updated curriculum. Featuring unique Vermont benefits (recreation, food and beverage, among others), this program encourages founders to identify values and wellness goals, and to incorporate these into their business models from the start, supporting paths to work/life balance so that individuals and companies are positioned to thrive as part of Vermont’s rural ecosystem.
BRIC recently adopted a new software platform to house all Actuator content and materials – a powerful online hub offering a convenient all-in-one digital space for accessing the curriculum, assignments, and resources. The platform includes robust interactive features that will allow founders to connect and engage with each other, as well as mentors, SMEs, area partners, investors, and BRIC’s growing alumni network. A safe, collaborative space for ideation, development, and growth, the BRIC Entrepreneurship Network platform launches in September.
BRIC is thrilled to welcome a new executive director, Vincent Fusca. Vin comes to the organization with a venerable wealth of relevant knowledge and experience. His background with digital health technology startups, economic development, and operations make him a fantastic addition to the BRIC team.
BRIC also welcomes Abbey Salomon – the new program manager for Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC) – who is spearheading innovation ecosystem efforts in Randolph, Vt. The Randolph innovation hub partnership is supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Build to Scale (B2S) grant that BRIC received in November 2022. Randolph is partnering with BRIC to support the advanced manufacturing vertical of BRIC’s new Actuator entrepreneurship program, and will help recruit and support Actuator participants located in the northern parts of the east central Vermont region.
Black River Innovation Campus is a 501(c)3 nonprofit on a mission to empower, inspire, and support rural Vermont through technology and tech-enabled entrepreneurship. BRIC’s Actuator entrepreneurship program was updated over the summer, and features a new digital platform; tracks for idea stage, MVP stage, and growth stage companies; and connections to mentors, SMEs, and lifestyle initiatives.
Learn more about Actuator by BRIC at www.bricvt.org/actuator.
Admissions are rolling, with cohorts beginning in September 2023, January 2024, and April 2024.