|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
During Fiscal Year 2013, EDA invested $6,491,800 in six projects in the State of Vermont. These projects are expected to create or retain 325 jobs and leverage $5,200,000 in private investment, according to grantee estimates. EDA’s investments help Vermont communities achieve bottom-up, locally-defined economic development goals and strategies.
EDA offers a complementary, balanced portfolio of grant programs designed to help rural and urban communities grow their private sectors and create jobs.
Investment Spotlight: Vermont Digital Economy Project
Tropical Storm Irene caused considerable infrastructure damage in 225 of Vermont's 251 communities, and 13 of these small rural communities were physically cut off from electric, line-based Internet, and phone services for days after the storm. Businesses and community members lacked the ability to use the Internet for key resources for recovery, volunteer assistance and government resources. Where broadband and wireless were available, organizations and individuals were able to offer immediate relief and recovery services, proving that the Internet is a vital tool in a disaster affected environment.
This disaster exposed a core vulnerability in the regional economy: underutilization of broadband resources. In order to get local communities back in business more quickly, the state needed to advance the further integration of online tools into rural business strategies and economic development efforts. The Vermont Digital Economy Project, a partnership between EDA and the Council on Rural Development, will help small rural communities affected by flood events to create new job opportunities, strengthen downtowns, and enhance municipal communications systems to support both businesses and emergency services. The project seeks to improve online access within twenty-five core communities and other targeted locations, strengthen online communications within the state, and enhance community and non-profit economic development functions.
The project activities are being implemented in conjunction with the Vermont Small Business Development Center, the Vermont Department of Libraries, the Vermont State College System, the Snelling Center for Government and IBM Consulting Services. Efforts include a range of steps to develop a robust virtual system that enhances real world business transactions and community connections to strengthen local economies through long term recovery while making this rural region more resilient to future disruptions.