Seven Days Follows Up With LaunchVT Winners

"According to Silverman, winning the competition has given Majorwise credibility and financial relief. As first prize winners, the UVM juniors received $30,000 in cash and $45,000 in in-kind support. They will use the money to hire more developers, Silverman said. Currently, they can only afford to pay for 10 hours' worth of work each week, he explained. 

As a result of the boost in manpower, Silverman predicts he and Robbins will be able to release an improved version of their platform a month earlier than planned. They will also make use of the cash prize to attend conferences for human resource professionals, so that they can market their product. Attendance at these events costs between $500 and $2,000, which had previously been "out of reach" for them, Silverman explained."


Read more to see how Packetized Energy will use the Innovation Prize Award. 

2016 LaunchVT Finalist Sap! Maple Water Featured in Burlington Free Press

"Smith, 28, and his partner and cousin, Nikita Salmon, also 28, launched Sap! in 2015 with maple sap soda and seltzer made in Vermont. Now the partners hope to pioneer an new category of beverages based on birch, rather than maple sap. Smith says Sap! is breaking new ground with the help of the Heffernans and a couple of neighboring sugarbushes that are supplying the birch sap."

Check out the article for more on Sap!'s new product. 

Seven Days Profiles Seven Finalists

"Since then, entrepreneurs of all ages have competed in LaunchVT, and this year's event saw the highest participation of businesswomen, said Katie Taylor, director of workforce development and entrepreneurship at the chamber. "We always want a lot of female participants," she added. But "I don't think we've ever had couple teams" — until this year, when the finalists include an all-female group from Middlebury College and two married couples.
It took the advisory board two weeks to pare down approximately 60 applications to the final seven, Taylor said. The other finalists are three teams affiliated with the University of Vermont."

Click here to find out more about this year's competitors. 

Sap! Maple Water, 2016 Launchvt finalist, on WCAX

"'I like to see young people do well, so they asked if I would help them out and they could buy sap from me and I said yes,' said J.R. Sloan.

A truck carrying 6,000 gallons of sap is on its way down to Middlebury to be canned at Woodchuck Cider.

'They've been really accommodating and great to work with. There's nothing like seeing maple sap come out of the canning line and you can grab it right off the can line, crack it open and take a sip.  It's really, really cool,' Salmon said.

'Part of our goal to starting the business is to have a really great positive impact on Vermont, and that's really manifested itself over the last few years in ways that we may not have really expected,' Smith said."

Read on about how Vermont businesses are using a strong community to improve business

2013 Finalists Cash or Trade featured in Seven Days

"As have so many cottage industries surrounding the Phab Four, a band that pays tribute to the Beatles, Cash or Trade grew out of the concert parking-lot scene. After putting out feelers to friends about the idea of a fair-trade ticket-exchange business and launching a bare-bones website, the Rich brothers hit the road and began setting up shop outside of Phish shows.
'We created a fair-trade ticket booth on the lot where people could meet up and trade tickets,' Dusty recalls. The CoT tent served to raise the nascent company's visibility. It also provided a real-world litmus test for the theory that, if given the chance, many fans will simply look to unload or buy tickets fairly, rather than make money. To validate his point, he cites the fact that a majority of for-sale tickets hit the CoT website between two weeks to 24 hours before a show."

Read on to find out more about how got its start and how the company is finding success.