BURLINGTON, Vt., May 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- FairPoint Communications and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) today announced the creation of a new collaborative called VCET @ BTV, a co-working space coupled with business mentoring and networking opportunities for promising startup companies in the FairPoint Technology Hub in downtown Burlington.
Flanked by Senator Patrick Leahy, Governor Peter Shumlin, Congressman Peter Welch, UVM Provost David Rosowsky and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger at Burlington's City Hall, FairPoint and VCET officials said they expect the new facility to be a vibrant, visible and high impact space for 21st Century employers and more good jobs.
FairPoint is providing the use of an approximately 11,000 square foot space and access to a high speed data connection while VCET will manage the space and work to connect entrepreneurs with the mentors, new venture expertise and financial resources they need to grow their startups here in Vermont. The VCET @ BTV facility will be housed on the second floor of an existing FairPoint facility at 266 Main Street that will be renamed the FairPoint Technology Hub. Entrepreneurs can learn more at www.CoWorkBTV.com
"I want to thank FairPoint and VCET for locating in downtown Burlington," Mayor Miro Weinberger said. "This facility, coupled with the Generator maker space housed at Memorial Auditorium, truly transforms that downtown Burlington block into a technology hub for the City and is a great boost to the City's BTV Ignite economic development initiative. With the support of leaders like Senator Leahy, Governor Shumlin, Congressman Welch, and the University of Vermont, I know this will be a success for the entrepreneurs of our City and serve as a catalyst for the creation of more next generation jobs. We look forward to the innovation and economic growth it generates."
Frank Cioffi, VCET Chair, said the organization has nearly a decade of experience helping leading-edge startups accelerate job creation with capital investment and its network of successful mentors who can guide new entrepreneurs. In 2013, VCET was named the #11 incubation program in the world and #5 in the United States.
"We're immensely grateful to FairPoint for providing this space and the technological infrastructure to support the creation of more great innovators in Vermont," Cioffi said. "It's more than shared office space, it is a network of inspired innovators and remote working professionals who will contribute time and talent to startups with the potential to create more good jobs and grow our economy. Collaborations between technology leaders like FairPoint and innovators like VCET will undoubtedly lead to successful results for new entrepreneurs."
Cioffi noted that demand is strong for this low cost, flexible new innovation space, and ultimately the VCET @ BTV space can handle up to 100 members.
FairPoint Vermont President Beth Fastiggi called it a one stop shop for startup entrepreneurs.
"Our goal in providing the space and supporting infrastructure was to create an environment where ideas will be shared, problems solved and new businesses created," she said. "We believe that connected communities are better communities – and there's no better way to cultivate the next generation of technology-driven jobs than by connecting startup entrepreneurs under one roof with all of the resources they need to succeed in the global marketplace."
Senator Patrick Leahy, the leading proponent of VCET, said the new space would help VCET expand its ability to support job creation for generations of Vermonters.
"We created VCET as a targeted business incubator and could not be more pleased with the services it provides and the opportunities it creates for Vermonters. Cultivating technology firms is great for our state and also enhances our nation's ability to compete in the global economy," Leahy added. "By providing startup firms with expert mentoring as well as low cost space, venture capital and networking, we significantly improve their odds of success and their ability to make contributions to Vermont's economy and quality of life. This new and larger space, just a stone's throw from beautiful Lake Champlain, will help us to advance this important effort."
Since its inception VCET has been incubated by the University of Vermont under the guidance of UVM's Dr. John Evans. VCET principally operates from Farrell Hall where companies and researchers incubate ideas and accelerate into the global marketplace. Each year VCET directly assists over 200 entrepreneurs and teams across Vermont, in addition to all its outreach and support within UVM and at other state colleges. VCET's portfolio of companies has raised over $70 million in risk capital which is greatly advancing the Vermont venture ecosystem.
"We're focused like a laser on creating more good jobs and our work with VCET is an important part of our strategy," Governor Shumlin noted. "This new hub – thanks to FairPoint and VCET – is another extraordinary opportunity to harness the innovation and hard work of Vermonters in a way that will both create jobs and inspire even more innovation in our economy as we move forward."
Congressman Peter Welch echoed this sentiment.
"As the global economy evolves, Vermont's ability to compete and succeed is based on our willingness to work together and solve problems in a way that moves us forward economically and socially – and that is what this collaboration between FairPoint and VCET is all about," Welch said.
About FairPoint Communications, Inc.
FairPoint Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: FRP) provides advanced data, voice and video technologies to single and multi-site businesses, public and private institutions, consumers, wireless companies and wholesale re-sellers in 17 states. Leveraging an owned, fiber-core Ethernet network — including more than 16,000 route miles of fiber in northern New England — FairPoint has the network coverage, scalable bandwidth and transport capacity to support enhanced applications, including the next generation of mobile and cloud-based communications, such as small cell wireless backhaul technology, voice over IP, data center colocation services, managed services and disaster recovery. For more information, visit www.FairPoint.com.
About Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, Inc. (VCET)
Simply put and relentlessly pursued, VCET catalyzes entrepreneurs in the creation of next generation job opportunities for this generation of Vermonters. As the go-to resource for entrepreneurs, VCET curates a robust entrepreneur mentor network, provides incubation services, operates three coworking facilities, and manages a $5 million early stage seed capital venture fund. VCET is an independent 501(c)3 organization which was ranked #11 globally and #5 in the US by UBI Index in 2013. Visit us at www.VermontTechnologies.com or follow us @VCET.
SOURCE FairPoint Communications, Inc.