JumpStart is a product-focused 10-week program designed to connect very early stage makers with the resources they need to turn their product prototypes into market-ready businesses.

JumpStart provides a comprehensive business development program, one-on-one expert mentoring, sophisticated prototyping tools-sets, technical training, free workspace, and more.

JumpStart is co-organized with LaunchVT.


Maker-entrepreneurs selected for the program have outstanding product ideas, live in the greater Burlington region, and have a viable physical prototype ready for market testing and business model development.

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.

Winter 2019/2020 applications are due December 8th, 2019 at 11:59PM EST.



Free Access to Generator


JumpStart cohort entrepreneurs have free membership at Generator throughout the program including access to workspace, prototyping tools and machines, the conference room, 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.

Mentoring and Technical Assistance

JumpStart cohort entrepreneurs will each receive 1:1 mentoring and technical assistance from leading regional business experts.


The JumpStart public lecture series invites local experts to speak on topics including market analysis, revenue generation, financial management, business formation, intellectual property protection, brand development, and financing.

JumpStart cohort members attend the public lectures after their weekly cohort sessions where they join any and all aspiring entrepreneurs in our community who are interested in these topics. Over 800 emerging entrepreneurs have attended JumpStart free public lectures to date.

Free Tool Trainings 

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, and woodshop.

Peer Learning

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.


Cohort sessions are private workshops for the 8 selected JumpStart participants.

Lectures are free and open to the public! Topics and speakers are forthcoming.

JumpStart applicants should be able to attend all events listed below.

January 14

Cohort Session: Knowing Yourself | 2:30-5pm

Assumptions, Working Styles, Team Building, Obstacles

January 21

Cohort Session: Knowing Your Customer | 2:30-5pm

Customer, Problems, Alternatives, Idea Testing

January 28

Cohort Session: Finding the Right Solution | 2:30-5pm

Solution, Benefit, Advantages, Starting Small, Brand Identity

Lecture | How to Customer Fund Your Business | 5:30-7pm


February 4

Cohort Session: Getting the Relationship Right | 2:30-5pm

Marketing & Message; Getting, Keeping & Growing Customers

Lecture | How to Manage the Modern Startup | 5:30-7pm


February 11

Cohort Session: Building Blocks | 2:30-5pm

Distribution, Revenue, Typical Offering, Price

February 18

Cohort Session: Structures and Systems | 2:30-5pm

Distribution, Revenue, Typical Offering, Price

Lecture | How to Build, Test, and Break New Products | 5:30-7pm


March 3

Cohort Session: Discovering the Bottom Line | 2:30-5pm

Startup & Ongoing Needs, Fixed & Variable Costs, Break-Even Point

March 10

Cohort Session: Financial Modeling | 2:30-5pm

Break-Even Point, Sales Projections, Cash Flow, Raising Capital

Lecture | How to Manufacture and Distribute in Vermont | 5:30-7pm


March 17

Cohort Session: Planning for Growth | 2:30-5pm

Growth Plans, Goal Setting, Preparing for Celebration Night

March 24

Celebration! | 2:30 – 5pm

Lecture | How to Scale a Hand-Crafted Product Business | 5:30-7pm





How to Live with Your Business | Jen Kimmich

The Alchemist

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.

How to Make Your Customers Love You | Christine Dodson


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!

How will you manage it? | Bret Hodgdon & Matt Cleare

Davis & Hodgdon Associates

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.

How to Build a Solid Legal Foundation | Justin McCabe

Dunkiel, Saunders, Elliott, Raubvogel & Hand

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!

How to Win Support from the Right People | Cairn Cross

FreshTracks Capital

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.

How Will People Know About It? | Michael Jager

Solidarity of Unbridled Labor

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.