Rutland selected to receive highly competitive U.S. Economic Development Administration Build to Scale Venture Challenge Grant

The Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region will be awarded $1,492,687 in federal grants and matching dollars to support local entrepreneurship and innovation.

It was announced on October 5, 2022, that the Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region (CEDRR) has secured a Venture Challenge grant via the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) Build to Scale (B2S) program. CEDRR worked with the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) to apply for this grant as part of CORI’s 2022 Rural Innovation Initiative, a technical assistance program empowering rural communities to create inclusive digital economies that support scalable entrepreneurship and tech job creation.

The Initiative was launched in 2018 by CORI and its mission-aligned collaborating organization, Rural Innovations Strategies, Inc. (RISI). To date, this program has graduated 29 communities and helped rural organizations secure more than $29.9 million to develop strategies and build out programs that can accelerate their local digital economic development efforts.

“The work that goes into the Rural Innovation Initiative process requires intense focus, unwavering optimism, and a clear vision for the future — which is why it’s been so exciting to watch these communities receive Build to Scale funding,” said Matt Dunne, Founder and Executive Director of CORI. “This is the fourth year we’ve run this program, and each year we grow more inspired by the commitment these rural leaders have to transform their local economies with new tech pathways that serve their community. We look forward to seeing what is next for them as our Network continues to grow.”

“The CEDRR Board of Directors and staff are very pleased that Rutland’s Tech Startup Incubator will become a reality for Rutland City, the county and the state,” said Lyle Jepson, Executive Director of CEDRR. “This has become a reality because of the great

partnerships that have been forged and because of the unwavering support of all involved.”

With the $1,492,687 provided by the Venture Challenge grant and matching funds, Rutland plans to launch Rutland’s Tech Startup Incubator to inspire a regional culture and community of tech innovation, create and implement a scalable technology support program, and develop a mentor and investor network providing tech entrepreneurs the human and financial capital needed to grow and scale their businesses.

“This is encouraging news for Rutland County and I’m grateful for CEDRR’s hard work in securing this grant,” said Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott. “Growing the economy in all regions of our state is a top priority for me and my team, and investments like this make a big difference.”

“The City of Rutland is pleased to support this important economic development project,” said David Allaire, Mayor of the City of Rutland. “We also recognize and appreciate the support that is being provided by the State of Vermont and our local business community.”

This public-private partnership between CEDRR and MKF Properties is joined by the City of Rutland, the State of Vermont, and Rutland Regional Medical Center as local partners who provided funding for the community’s match portion of the grant. Other local partners supporting this application include Castleton University, the Center for Women & Enterprise, the Vermont Small Business Development Center, Velco, Green Mountain Power, the MINT-Rutland’s Makerspace, NAACP-Rutland Chapter, USDA, Evolve Rutland, Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty, and Rutland Regional Planning Commission.

The 2022 Build to Scale program awarded 51 grants to applicants from 31 states. The grants represent a combined $47 million in federal investment. Rutland was one of just eight rural applicants to receive the award this year. Rutland is also a member of CORI's Rural Innovation Network, a growing collective of rural communities in 24 states across the country that are working to train local residents in digital skills, employ them in new economy jobs, and empower them to launch the startups that will drive their future economies.


About Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region

Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region (CEDRR) was founded in 2020 following a merger of Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce and Rutland Economic Development Corporation. The organization is working to ensure that the greater Rutland Region has a vibrant and diversified workforce in the 21st century. CEDRR’s vision is for the greater Rutland region to be recognized as the most

collaborative, innovative, and friendly place in Vermont to live, work, play, and grow a business.

About the Center on Rural Innovation

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) is a national nonprofit committed to advancing economic prosperity in rural America through the creation of inclusive digital economy ecosystems that support scalable entrepreneurship and tech job creation. Established in 2017, CORI is at the heart of a dynamic social enterprise focused on closing the rural opportunity gap. To maximize all possible resources to address this critical problem, the organization partners with a taxable nonprofit, Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI), and a seed fund, CORI Innovation Fund (CIF), focused on early-stage technology companies located in rural areas.


Contact: Lyle Jepson

Chamber & Economic Development of the Rutland Region