My second week has been wonderful at The Lightning Jar!
Joelle and I met Jim Verzino, an entrepreneur who has co-founded many socially responsible businesses focused around energy, waste management and workforce. I learned a lot about the challenges for entrepreneurs in Vermont because of its many geographical locations, but also the opportunities the "Vermont" branding in the US market. Jim has already become one of my role models looking at his many contributions to the community and the environment.
I am also really happy with our success at organizing “Buzzword Bingo!” at TLJ this past Tuesday evening. We were joined by James Salerno (Hale Mountain Research and BAM - Bennington Area Makers) and students from Bennington College who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. The event was planned to be both educational and fun. Sharing lots of laughs with food and drink, we learned a lot watching TED Talks and Shark Tank videos, but we also learned the most listening to each others opinions and dreams. The TED Talks on what happens when you answer SPAM was a highlight getting many laughs and hearing about a man becoming an entrepreneur at 66 was inspiring. Why don't we have a "70 over 70" list?! Thanks to James and his generous gift donations, everyone went home a winner with awesome prizes!
I also had an amazing opportunity to sit in on the interview for the Working Communities Challenge grant. The team who applied was a collaboration of different organizations from the Bennington community. It filled me with great happiness to see so many like-minded people putting a huge effort to fight the issues of generational poverty in Bennington and thinking beyond - to make a change in the bigger economic system of the community.
On Friday, Joelle and I were invited to speak about The Lightning Jar at the Bennington Rotary Club's January meeting on Friday. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to share our vision with rotary members and thinking of how we can collaborate to build a Bennington as an entrepreneurial hub focused on improving the quality of life.
In the last two weeks, I have met so many awesome people, and all of them have made me see the wonders of the Bennington community. Each day I am finding one more reason as to why the Bennington community is the best. Thank you to all I have met over the past two weeks of my journey, I can’t wait to keep meeting new people and also working with those who I have already met.
I hope to see you on January 27th at The Lightning Jar (12-1pm) for the Financial Planning Basics workshop hosted by The Lightning Jar and VSECU.