Your Local Economy: Some Summer Reading

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Your Local Economy: Some Summer Reading

Posted by Karen Horn on 29 July 2016

A fair amount is happening in Vermont’s economic development arena this year, much of it outside state government and far outside the political rhetoric of campaigns. In reality, that makes a lot of sense. After all, businesses are conceived, started, flourish, or die outside of government.

Nonetheless, Vermont cities, towns, and villages – as well as the communities they foster – are central to the conversation about how to grow Vermont’s economy. What might economic development look like in your community? What kind of business or entrepreneur, if any, fits the character of your municipality? What innovative vision and supportive practices or regulatory environment will help the kinds of development your community wants? What home-grown businesses are already flourishing within your borders? Where will your children find or invent work?

  • The Vermont Futures Project is compiling comprehensive (and fascinating) data about Vermont’s economy, workforce, strengths, weaknesses, entrepreneurship, opportunities, and future economy. The information is presented with the understanding that different communities will use it in ways that suit their needs and visions.
  • “Maker places” are trending throughout the country, including in Vermont. As shown in the 2016 State of the Cities Report, which is an analysis of mayors’ state of the city addresses across the country, economic development is one of the top issues on which mayors across the country are focusing. And makers – people and companies that make things, some of them spectacularly new and valuable – are a big part of contributing vitality to cities and towns nationwide.
  • The term “maker” includes the local foods, craft brews, custom snowboards, skis and flute mouthpieces, design, do-it-yourselfers (DIY) and independent businesses that have grown in Vermont for years. We can claim to be in the forefront of the maker movement and should be rightfully proud of that fact.
  • Rutland is hosting a mini-maker faire on July 30.
  • You may be interested in the Maker Places Conference being held in Burlington from August 7-9. Even if you don’t plan on attending, note that it is happening, that the streets are likely to be filled with innovators and entrepreneurs, and that some of them may have gotten their start in your town.
  • Burlington is also hosting its first Burlington Innovation Week ahead of the Vermont Tech Jam October 14-20.

You care about your city, town, or village tremendously –  enough to be one of the Vermonters who commits untold hours to ensuring its smooth operation and continued vitality. So take a few minutes this summer to learn new ways to make the future you and your citizens want a reality.