Building Executive Business and Marketing Skills for Working Lands Businesses
The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) sometimes releases a request for proposals (RFP) that allows non-profit organizations or for-profit organizations to apply for contracts in specific service area(s), identified by the WLEB. Funding of multi-year projects is contingent on future state budget allocations, in addition to funding decisions of the Working Lands Enterprise Board.
Fall 2024 Proposal Window
WLEB seeks Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 service provider proposals to build executive and marketing business skills for working lands enterprises (farm, food, and/or forest products). Proposed work can target enterprises in all stages of business development, from pre-venture through established operations. For more information, read the full Request for Proposals (RFP).
Proposals are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, November 3, 2023. Proposals must be sent as a single PDF file to Elizabeth Sipple, Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Program Manager, at Elizabeth.Sipple@vermont.gov. Proposals will be reviewed in November 2023 by WLEB. Contract award decisions will be communicated in December 2023. The earliest project start date is January 1st, 2024.
Assigned Contract Terms
Proposals usually focus on one service area (or apply to both in the same proposal):
Typically, each awarded contract has a one-year time frame, with a minimum award of $50,000 and not to exceed $100,000, with the option of up to two (2) one-year contract renewals conditional upon funding, performance, and Working Lands Enterprise Board discretion.
Executive Business Skills:
- Financial literacy: ability to develop and understand financial statements; decision-making based on financial data; understanding key financial indicators such as cost of production, gross profit margin, and pricing strategy; cash flow management.
- Enterprise accounting: strong financial record-keeping and accounting practices; adopting and/or improving record-keeping software systems, such as QuickBooks; understanding tax planning to make informed business decisions.
- Business organization structure: business registration, such as choosing the appropriate business structure(s) to build successful strategies for transfer and/or succession planning.
- Management & HR: organizational structure, management structure, internal and external teams, human resources, job descriptions, and pathways for providing benefits; developing employee handbooks and a compensation philosophy; understanding what is required for employee recruitment and retention.
- Regulations and permitting: regulations including worker’s compensation, labor and wage and hour laws, and permitting.
- Exit strategy/succession: planning for eventual exit and/or succession of business and/or transfer of land and assets.
Marketing Business Skills:
- Market development: market assessment; ability to identify appropriate markets; navigation within Vermont/regional supply chain; distribution and aggregation; utilizing brokerage services.
- Promotion & branding: product development and differentiation; understanding pricing and value proposition; promotion tactics; certification processes; building marketing and sales; strategic planning; strategies to generate revenue.
- Responsiveness to emergent marketing needs: e-commerce, home delivery, curbside pick-up, traceability, and farmer/forest products to market apps.
- Digital awareness: use of technology; ability to follow trends in the broader marketplace via internal or external data and analytics; website search engine optimization.
- Customer engagement: consumer relations, awareness of consumer preferences, consumer connection to the food, farm, or forest producer.