The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is a program sponsored by the Working Lands Enterprise Board in the state of Vermont. The initiative is focused on investing $1 into Vermont agricultural and forest based businesses.
The board was established in 2012 to oversee the program which awards grants and loans to small businesses that add value to farm and forest commodities. In the first round of grants, 20 businesses out of 191 applications received grants ranging from $3,000 to $15,000. The companies represented industries including forestry, forest products, dairy, meat, berries, tree fruit, tree farms, maple, produce, honey, fish, horses, renewable energy, compost specialty foods, fiber, hops, land and soil testing and drainage.
The purpose of the grants is to provide a deep investment by the state to support the agriculture and food business in Vermont. When small businesses receiving grant money also leverage their own funds, it helps small business grow, strengthens the state economy and helps farmers and those who work the woodlands thrive. Its keeps business and money in the state.
Last year, the state budgeted $1 for the initiative. This year, the budget is expected to include between $1 million and $1.5 million for the fund.
For more information, visit http://vtworkinglands.org/programs/policy-councils/working-landscape/wleb