History of the Initiative
In 2012, the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative (WLEI) was signed into law. The Initiative supports, grows, and sustains Vermont's entrepreneurs by providing technical and financial assistance to help Working Lands businesses innovate and grow. Watch this video to hear more about the program, its history and impacts.
Program Overview to Date
Since the program passed through the legislature in 2012, the program has:
- Funded 240 Agriculture and Forestry Projects.
- Distributed Over $7 Million in Working Lands Funds.
- Leveraged over $11 million in matching funds (cash, in kind, other private and public investment).
- Made investments to grantees that resulted in the creation of over 500 jobs, with sales revenues of $31 million.
- These investments continue to make an impact in all 14 Vermont Counties.
Sixteen business awards were announced in 2020 for $251K for a funding opportunity which came from previously unallocated FY20 funds. Based on the unprecedented arrival of COVID-19, though these dollars were originally allocated for scopes of work for Service Providers, the WLEB nimbly diverted those dollars back to businesses. This was a quick 'grants opportunity' turnaround focused on COVID-19 impacts for market adaptation. The Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Application, for farmers, meat and poultry processors, slaughterhouses, farmers markets, agricultural food products businesses, forest products businesses, and producer associations, launched in August 2020.