Contracts are currently closed for applications. This funding opportunity will not be open during Fiscal Year 2023, but please check back in future funding cycles.
Building Executive Business and Marketing Skills for Working Lands Businesses
The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) sometimes releases a request for proposals 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.
Service Area and 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. Applicants may cite any or all focus areas in their proposal. The Working Lands Enterprise Board appreciates both breadth and focus of work, thus will not give advantage to proposals that include multiple focus areas. The primary service areas are: a) Building Executive Business Skills and b) Increasing Marketing Skills. Both contracts shall provide services for the benefit of working lands businesses (farm, food, and forest enterprises) that existing programs and providers have previously struggled to reach. The WLEB encourages the entrepreneur’s understanding of the value and needed prioritization of executive and marketing business skills to augment viable businesses.
Executive Business Skills:
- Financial literacy - e.g., understanding balance sheet and profit & loss statements, understanding key financial indicators such as cost of production, gross profit margin, pricing strategy, cash-flow management;
- Enterprise accounting – supporting the adoption and/or improving record-keeping software systems, such as encouraging thorough use of QuickBooks. Understanding tax planning, to make informed business decisions for current year and future years;
- Business Organizational Structure - choosing sole proprietor, LLC, S Corp, etc., to build successful strategies for transfer and/or succession planning;
- Worker’s Compensation for the Working Lands – understanding class codes, audits, claims management, independent contractor documentation;
- Operations key performance indicators, and;
- Human Resources development and training tools – general operations management, onboarding manuals and professional development, internal and external teams, exploration of options for securing workforce, wage & hour laws - specifically how it affects their business, especially if a diversified operation with potential exemptions
Marketing Business Skills:
- Strategies for adaptability across supply chain: navigation within Vermont/regional supply chain impacts e.g., distribution and aggregation bottlenecks, utilizing brokerage services;
- Responsiveness to emergent marketing needs: e-commerce, home delivery, curbside pick-up, block chain (traceability), and farmer/forest products to market apps;
- Marketing & Sales capacity: strategies to employ for generating revenue, increasing sales, product developments, market assessment, marketing new products, market access;
- Marketing & Branding: ability to be viable in the market environment, ability to brand and sell products, product development, promotion tactics, building marketing strategic plans;
- Developing digital awareness, use of technology, and ability to follow trends in the broader marketplace via internal or external data and analytics; website search engine optimization, and;
- Customer engagement: consumer relations, awareness of consumer preferences, consumer connection to the food, farm or forest producer