Incubator Without Walls
What is iWOW?
The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship at Lyndon State College hosts the Incubator without Walls program which offers affordable technical assistance for small businesses in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and New Hampshire’s Coos County. These services have been provided since 2007 in the form of undergraduate-level student projects conducted under the supervision of Lyndon State faculty.
iWOW provides a wide array of programs and services designed to prepare individual students and businesses for success in the workplace and the regional economy. We proactively engage Lyndon State College faculty and students with small businesses to assess their needs, define optimal business performance steps, and propose solutions with execution in mind. These projects enable students on the ground to experience real world business issues that support their academic studies.
How is this accomplished?
Alliances are our strength. We draw upon the resources and services of our partners to best meet a small business’ specific growth need. We serve as the intake point for technical assistance seekers in the NEK and frequently coordinate on project with partners to provide businesses seamless, integrated support. Our partners include:
- Lyndon State College (LSC),
- VT & NH Small Business Development Corporation,
- Northern Vermont Development Association (NVDA),
- Northern Community Investment Corporation (NCIC),
- University of Vermont Extension (Newport),
- Northeast Kingdom Travel and Tourism Association (NEKTTA),
- Northeast Kingdom Collaborative,
- Area High School Career Centers,
- Area chambers of commerce.
Aimed at increasing NEK business competitiveness and decreasing unemployment to improve the overall economic health of the region, iWOW gives LSC students hands-on practical experience with faculty oversight in real business situations. In response to local business development needs, we strengthen the future talent and knowledge base to supply NEK businesses with the critical qualified workforce needed to grow.
Who can participate?
The technical assistance and workforce development services of iWOW may be your answer if you are
- Area business looking for customized solutions to business issues,
- LSC students looking for a hands-on, applied learning experience,
- Faculty at LSC interested in supervising the application of academic course work to real business demands.
When and Where?
Projects are undertaken on a year-round basis. There is no single physical location for iWOW as it concentrates instead on managing a network of enterprise support services. Originally funded by USDA Rural Development grants, iWOW has expanded its original service area — the greater Newport area — to the entire Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and Coos County of New Hampshire. Projects and workshops are scheduled year round.
Ann Nygard, Director