This year, for the first time, I attended the Cotton Mill Open Studios event. Wow! What a wonderful collection of small business activity and celebration of the creative entrepreneurs who make this region so special. Value added food producers, game makers, toy makers, and artisans mixed and mingled with eager holiday shoppers to create an atmosphere that was wonderfully unique and a beautiful example of entrepreneurs owning their ecosystem.
Actually, I went twice. Once on Friday evening after work and then on Saturday morning when coaxed my spouse to join me. We then went into town to do more shopping!
My work at the BDCC focuses on ensuring that small businesses in the region have needed resources so they can start, grow, and thrive. The BDCC does not organize Open Studios, and that, to me, is very important to note. Folks who work in “entrepreneurial ecosystem development” often espouse the notion that – entrepreneurs should own the culture (system). In a truly vibrant location, it’s the founders, co-founders, investors, inventors, researchers, academics, angel investors, venture capitalists, and lenders, that create the culture and framework for a successful ecosystem. Open Studios is a classic example of a group of firms that have taken hold of an opportunity to shine a light on their products and services. Bravo! It demonstrates a level of vibrancy many regions would love to have.
Open Studios is a micro-example of how this works. My work, our work at the BDCC, is to keep pushing so that business vibrancy and this “ecosystem development” continues throughout the region and is not centered in one place – one building.
I’m continually looking for experienced business people who want to help me be an evangelist, advocate, business mentor, or accountability partner for this work. Give me shout, holla, FB message, tweet, call, or better yet – drop in for a face-to-face chat over a cup of coffee and piece of Tavernier Chocolate, or an O.W.L Energy Bar, or True North Granola Nutty No Grainer, or Back Roads Ginger Granola, or a cup of Vermont Gelato, while playing a Storymatic game and holding a Sensation Products vibrating lady bug. I might even send you a Rosie’s Wonders thank you card or beautifully crafted metal art from Will Alderfer Metal Arts (ok, let’s be realistic, it was just a conversation and coffee).[The paragraph above contains businesses and products located at the Cotton Mill in Brattleboro VT. Not all businesses located at the Cotton Mill were included – my apologies]
My contact information:
R.T. Hamilton Brown │Windham County Economic Development Program Project Manager
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation
76 Cotton Mill Hill | Brattleboro VT 05301
802.257.7731 x221 Office | 802.257.0294 Fax
Small Business Loan Inquiry
Request for Experts (RFE): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9H9PTRN