Ahead of our upcoming JumpStart Expo Night, we are excited to introduce our next cohort of Generator entrepreneurs, the JumpStart 2023 cohort!

These nine talented makers were specially selected to participate in JumpStart 2023, our 12-week startup development program, facilitated by business coach Emily Eley. This amazing crew has been meeting weekly since early March, setting goals, crafting prototypes, and fine tuning their business models. 

Don’t miss JumpStart Expo Night on May 24 to hear each entrepreneur pitch their new business and share a bit about their journey.

Sponsored by M&T Bank.

“A jack jumper is a single ski with a raised bench seat on it that is used for ridiculously fun, fast and easy downhill travel in snow.  No fancy equipment is required to use it, just typical winter attire. There is a tight knit community of jack jump riders in Vermont, and pretty much every time we go to a ski hill, someone asks us where we can buy one. There are no commercially available jack jumpers available in the US. Most riders just make their own. My business would be solving that problem.”

Krista Jones, Whimsically You

“We help thoughtful couples have unforgettably personalized celebrations through rentable experiences such as a bespoke photo booth or a custom wedding-themed escape box, and custom crafted items such as puzzle games or decor. We believe that a traditional wedding doesn’t suit all couples, and everyone deserves to have a truly customized, unique experience crafted around their love and story to truly celebrate who they are. We want to help other couples to celebrate in their own unique and playful way. The world could use a bit more celebration of love of all kinds!”

Justin Heininger, Beneath the Mountains

“I create silver jewelry using my hand drawn, non-traditional, Celtic knot designs. My products are meant to be worn works of art made in silver. Through my jewelry, I seek to enhance individual beauty in order to help people feel more confident about themselves. I feel jewelry allows people to enhance their personality in a way that is not permanent like a tattoo.”

Kelsey McWilliams, Point of Shift

“Point of Shift makes funky, well-designed, unique toilet seats that bring design, whimsy, and beauty to the bathroom. The toilet seat for western toilets has been the same shapes, colors, and aesthetics since the first flush toilets were invented. As a society, we have distanced ourselves from the toilet and our waste, which has caused us to forget that that waste is a valuable resource. Our waste can be transformed into nutrients for the soil, energy, water, or animal feed. By bringing attention, whimsy, and delight back to the toilet with funky toilet seats, Point of Shift is helping to bring back respect, dignity, connection, and understanding to our waste systems – which need our attention more than ever.”

Jay Burstein, HempTone

My product is a great-sounding, rugged, small-scale guitar that is crafted from raw hemp fiber and is ideal for travel and adventure. While being eco-friendly, sustainable, and carbon-negative, the HempTone guitar is designed and constructed to withstand temperature and moisture extremes that traditional guitars cannot; it can even be submerged in water. In addition, it is much tougher than most and can take abuse that would destroy a traditional guitar. It is the perfect guitar for travel and outdoor adventures. The guitar is also a beacon for hemp awareness, and its many uses that can help combat climate change.”

Sara Everest, Fortune Fire Starters

“A Fortune Fire Starter is a fire starter made from 100% discarded materials including egg cartons, dryer lint, wood chips, and candle stubs, wrapped in an origami newspaper pyramid, topped with a ‘fortune.’ My product is used to help start fires in a fire pit, a fireplace, or a woodstove. It burns for about 10 minutes, so the user has plenty of time to arrange larger pieces of wood around it and get their fire going. Fortune Fire Starters are made from 100% discarded materials and help folks start fires easily indoors or outdoors. Fortune Fire Starters help to reduce landfill and increase happiness.”

Ben Burns, Ben’s Bag Co.

“My product is a machine sewn bicycle bag made of recycled fabrics. The bag attaches to a bike via Velcro and features pockets and storage space that are designed to carry things like extra food, water, repair tools, clothing,and more. While some bag designs can be produced uniformly, others can be tailored to work with specific frame geometry quite easily. I believe that having access to fun, local, and sustainable products that allow you to carry the things you need on your bike help get folks excited about where their bike can take them, and help them bring along all of the things they need to get there.”

Miranda Peters, ditto historical

“ditto historical recovers the forgotten stories of individuals from the American Revolution through beautiful and affordable jewelry and souvenirs. Museum stores across the country have faced fluctuating retail stock due to supply chain issues with overseas manufacturers. While increasingly diverse narratives and topics are being explored at museums, shelves are lined with products that feature George Washington or the other usual suspects. I think we can do better. My business will provide easy-to-access purchase touchpoints for museums of all sizes at wholesale costs still affordable for museum-goers.”

Pike Porter

My product is a bike lock shaped to be used as handlebar extension while riding. While riding, most conventional bike locks are dead weight. This bike lock allows riders to increase efficiency and speed by positioning their bodies further over the front wheel like aerobar handlebars. This lock is actually useful when riding, not just useful when the bike is locked up. An accessory bag can be attached to the lock in the handlebar position providing more storage. The brackets can also hold a cell phone if the rider so chooses.”