Have a product idea or prototype?
Dream of building a successful business around it?
JumpStart is a selective product-focused 10-week program connecting early stage entrepreneurs with the resources they need to turn their product prototypes into market-ready businesses.
Selected JumpStart participants receive:
JumpStart is a collaboration between Generator, Burlington’s makerspace, and LaunchVT, a program of the Lake Champlain Chamber of Regional Commerce.
Entrepreneurs accepted into the JumpStart cohort will receive free membership at Generator throughout the program including access to workspace, prototyping tools and machines, the conference room, our suite of design programs, and Generator’s unique and collaborative hivemind of designers, artists, entrepreneurs, and manufacturing experts who will help them refine their product or prototype.
JumpStart cohort entrepreneurs will each receive 1:1 mentoring and technical assistance from leading regional business experts.
JumpStart cohort entrepreneurs receive free tool trainings appropriate to their product design needs including the laser cutter, 3D printers, 4-Axis CNC mill, electronics, metal shop, jewelry studio, sewing machines, and wood shop.
Between Generator membership and tool trainings, JumpStart cohort members will be set-up to experiment with new prototypes, products, packaging, and other physical elements of their business.
An important component of the JumpStart program is developing a network of like-minded entrepreneurs. Generator’s JumpStart cohort members learn from one another, sharing challenges, resources, and solutions during their weekly check-in sessions and workshops.
As Generator members, the JumpStart cohort will also be connected to Generator’s buzzing community of entrepreneurs, makers, artists, and designers both virtually in Generator’s online forum and in-person at our South End facility.
Cohort sessions are private workshops for the 8 selected JumpStart participants led by John Antonucci, Executive Director of Launch VT.
Cohort sessions will meet in-person in Generator’s large and open Flex Space. Generator is open to members only and requires masks, temperature checks, and verbal health screenings for each person entering the building. There is ample space for physical distancing, and the cohort will switch to virtual meetings if necessary.
JumpStart participants will have free membership to Generator throughout the program. Once selected for the program, participants should immediately coordinate with Generator staff to receive their desired free tool trainings so that they can get to work on developing their product or refining their production process.
Cohort Session: Knowing Yourself | 2:30-5pm
Assumptions, Working Styles, Team Building, Obstacles
Cohort Session: Knowing Your Customer | 2:30-5pm
Customer, Problems, Alternatives, Idea Testing
Cohort Session: Finding the Right Solution | 2:30-5pm
Solution, Benefit, Advantages, Starting Small, Brand Identity
Cohort Session: Getting the Relationship Right | 2:30-5pm
Marketing & Message; Getting, Keeping & Growing Customers
Cohort Session: Building Blocks | 2:30-5pm
Distribution, Revenue, Typical Offering, Price
Cohort Session: Structures and Systems | 2:30-5pm
Distribution, Revenue, Typical Offering, Price
Cohort Session: Discovering the Bottom Line | 2:30-5pm
Startup & Ongoing Needs, Fixed & Variable Costs, Break-Even Point
Cohort Session: Financial Modeling | 2:30-5pm
Break-Even Point, Sales Projections, Cash Flow, Raising Capital
Cohort Session: Planning for Growth | 2:30-5pm
Growth Plans, Goal Setting, Preparing for Celebration Night
Celebration! | 2:30 – 5pm
Maker-entrepreneurs selected for the program have outstanding product ideas, live in the greater Burlington region, have a viable physical prototype ready for market testing and business model development, and are available to participate in the cohort sessions outlined above.
Applicants will be reviewed and scored by a panel of advisors, Generator and LaunchVT staff and Generator members.
Acceptance is determined based on a clear demonstration of product readiness, business feasibility, and entrepreneurial energy.
The 2019 Jumpstart lecture series kicks off by answering one of the most important questions for entrepreneurs: “How do I live with my business?” Running a business is hard enough during good times, but true entrepreneurs find a way to succeed even when times are tough. The Alchemist founder, Jen Kimmich, knows a thing or two about persevering through hardship and building a successful company. She’ll be sharing her story and advice for overcoming obstacles and making your vision a reality.
At our second JUMP/START lecture Christine Dodson, co-founder of Mamava, breaks down how to develop a great relationship with your customers. It takes much more than good brand design and an instagram account to build a loyal customer base and Mamava has built a social movement with their business. Learn how to create and deliver a message and customer experience that makes your customers love you!
Once you have your go to market strategy and you’re ready to start generating revenue, you’ll need a plan for managing your financials. In this session, Bret Hodgdon and Matt Cleare of Davis & Hodgdon Associates will cover the accounting basics you’ll need to become familiar with in order to turn your idea into a business. We’ll explore cost structures, basic accounting and bookkeeping principles, and strategies for tracking expenses and revenue, setting up a reliable accounting system, and managing cash flow.
This lecture will answers some of the most important questions entrepreneurs have. What is the right legal structure for my business? How do I protect my intellectual property? What policies and procedures do I need in place? Join us for straight forward and slightly comical answers to these questions from JustinMcCabe, attorney at Dunkiel Saunders and founder of the Vermont Evaporator Company. You’ll learn how to create a solid legal foundation for your business so you can spend your time growing it!
At our final JUMP/START lecture we’ll start with a check-in with the members of our Jump/Start cohort. Hear how eight local entrepreneurs are launching and growing their businesses after 9 weeks in the JUMP/START program.
Then we hear from Cairn Cross, founder of Fresh Tracks Capital, about pitching your business and building your support network. Cairn shares his thoughts on what makes a business presentation compelling and how to use your pitch to win more than just financial support.
For entrepreneurial thinkers and makers, a great idea, product, or service is not enough to build your idea’s true potential. Your ability to capture, communicate, create and refine your cultural relevance in people’s lives is essential. This is the practice of a ‘Living Brand.’ It’s about strategic thinking and design, but also, how to practice and apply that to your idea. An idea that is not in motion, learning, and relevant is no idea at all. We will review what a brand is and why it matters. We will dig into the process, practice, and look at cases of ‘Living Brandwork’ in action. Resources and reading materials for creating, clarifying, communicating, and cultivating your idea will be shared.