Message from the vtTA
The legislature returned to work his month to determine the state budget for FY21, and allocate the spending of the remaining federal COVID Relief Funds. Two issues that we weighed in on were the intention to yet again add a “Cloud Tax” to Vermont’s sales tax, and a request to allocate some COVID relief funds for tech-enabled businesses.

Cloud Tax
The House Ways and Means committee voted to add the sales tax to “vendor-hosted prewritten software accessed remotely,” or software as a service (SaaS), commonly known as the “cloud tax,” to the miscellaneous tax bill (H.954).

The vtTA is concerned about the impact of this tax on the many Vermont businesses that use and sell software as a service, particularly as we work to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

The vtTA worked with other business organizations and businesses to jointly send a letter to the entire House membership to express our concerns and asked them to vote against the tax. Thank you to those who responded to the request to add your name to the letter.
We also testified to the Senate Finance Committee on our concerns with the tax. I provided an overall perspective of the vtTA’s concerns and vtTA members Ted Adler of Union Street media, Michael Ly of Reconciled and SaaSable, and Robbie Adler of Faraday, shared their perspective and concerns about the complicated and costly impact of imposing the tax. 

As a result of our efforts, the Senate Appropriations Committee removed the Cloud Tax from the tax bill. It is clear that the House Ways and Means Committee intends to continue to pursue this tax and we’ll need to be prepared to address it again next session.

Business Grants
The budget contains approximately $70 million in business relief that includes Economic Recovery Grants managed by he Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development was given greater flexibility to provide grants to businesses that may not have been eligible previously. That could include expanding eligibility criteria beyond looking only at year-to-year revenue losses.

The vtTA joined with the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET) to express support for a proposal to allocate COVID Relief Funding to tech-enabled businesses through the Vermont Seed Capital Fund to include businesses impacted by equity and other funding losses; originally to expand loans, and then for grants in keeping with funding requirements.
We submitted a letter to the Senate Economic Development Committee in support of this funding and shared the statement of support created for the original funding request that gathered more than 290 signatures. (Thank you to all who signed on).

The committee supported the need, but wanted to avoid allocations for specific business sectors, and instead recommended any funding to be part of the flexible grant making managed by the Agency of Commerce.
We are pleased to be the prominent voice for these and other issues for Vermont’s tech community and are able to do so through the financial support of our annual members. If you are not a member, please consider joining the Alliance (or recommend membership to someone you think should join).

Jeff Couture
Executive Director
Vermont Technology Alliance

Upcoming Events
The Gig Economy
(September 22 – October 15, 2020)
The Project Management Institute Champlain Valley (PMICV) is hosting a webinar series, “The Gig Economy,” featuring 10 unique presentations on topics that include working remotely, job-hunting and hiring, and emotional intelligence. vtTA members can take advantage of a discount code and registered attendees can access the content on-demand for 30 days.
Find more here.
Manufacturing Day 
(October 2, 2020)
Manufacturing Day is launched annually on the first Friday in October with events that continue throughout the month. Many Vermont businesses will host events to recognize the importance of manufacturing and increase awareness about the many good paying job and career opportunities Vermont companies provide.
Find more here.
NEK Entrepreneurship Week
(October 12-17, 2020)
The NEK Entrepreneurship Week, presented by Do North Coworking and North Country Credit Union, is a series of virtual events designed to highlight resources that can help entrepreneurs, makers, and creatives establish businesses in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.
Find more here.
BCA Talks Tech: Social Media as a Tool for Change
(October 13, 2020)
The Burlington Code Academy presents a live Q&A style webinar where its team talks tech with individuals using their virtual voices to make a positive difference. Social media is more than just hashtags and throwbacks, its platforms are home to change-making movements.
Find more here.
Leading A Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe 5.0) Course
(October 26 – October 28, 2020)
Attendees will gain the knowledge necessary to lead a Lean-Agile enterprise by leveraging the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) and its underlying principles in this course presented by Desai Management Consultants and Conceptia. Take advantage of Vermont Technology Alliance discount code for this course.
Find more here.
SAFe Certified Scrum Master Certification Training
(November 2 - 4, 2020)
This Certified Scrum Master Certification training course, presented by Desai Management Consultants and Conceptia, includes three days of instructor-led training by a certified SAFe Program Consultant. Take advantage of Vermont Technology Alliance discount code for this course.
Read more here.
Vermont Technology News
Vermont PSD Announces Nearly $4 million in Round 2 COVID-19 Broadband Grants
(September 22, 2020 – VTDigger)

The Department of Public Service has issued $3,991,847 in grant awards to Internet Service Providers to serve over 1,651 eligible locations with broadband connections in response to COVID-19. The Department awarded grants to ECFiber, Franklin Telephone, Wireless Partners, Charter (Spectrum), Tilson, and Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom.

The Connectivity Initiative, which began in 2015, funds the expansion of broadband facilities in under-served towns. More than $4,000,000 in funding remains for the COVID-19 Emergency Connectivity Initiative and Get Vermonters Connected Now Initiative, to be awarded in one more round.

Read more here.
Local Telecoms Districts Want More Federal Action to Help Reach Broadband Goal
(September 20, 2020 – VTDigger)

Vermont’s fledgling telecommunications districts want to see changes in federal funding — and to the federal definition of broadband — to better meet the state’s goal of universal high-speed connections within four years.
“It’s wonderful to think about the notion that we should be running like an electric utility,” Ann Manwaring, a representative of Deerfield Valley Communications Union District, told Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., during a Zoom call. “But until there’s some federal legislative action that permits that to happen … we have to function much more like a profit-making business without any profits below the line,” Manwaring said.

She and leaders from the state’s eight other communications union districts met virtually with the Democratic congressman to summarize their work so far and what they believe is needed to succeed.

Read more here.
Consolidated Communications Partners with Pax8 for Cloud Services
(September 21, 2020 – Consolidated Communications)

Consolidated Communications announced it has partnered with Pax8, a leader in cloud distribution, to provide business customers with an enhanced suite of cloud services, including: next generation productivity, backup, security, data management and disaster recovery solutions.

The partnership will simplify and streamline the order and fulfillment process for business customers.

Read more here.
Vermont Afterschool Gets $55,000 to Help Close the Gender Gap in STEM
(September 16, 2020 – Vermont Business Magazine)

The STEM Next Opportunity Fund announced a multi-year grant to Vermont Afterschool as part of the Million Girls Moonshot. The Intel Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation have joined STEM Next Opportunity Fund and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to launch the Million Girls Moonshot. The effort is designed to engage 1 million school-age girls in the United States in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning opportunities over the next five years. The organizations will provide grant funding and in-kind resources to Mott-funded afterschool networks in all 50 states to increase access to hands-on, immersive STEM learning experiences. The first year Vermont grant, just awarded, is for $55,000.

Read more here.
Vermont Startup Launches Data Analytics App
(September 16, 2020 – Vermont Business Magazine)

Burlington, VT software startup, Saasable, announced its launch in the QuickBooks App Store. Saasable is a financial reporting and analytics app that allows accountants and SMBs to automate recurring revenue metrics in a real-time dashboard.

“Previously, accountants spent hours putting together tedious spreadsheets to report basic revenue and related numbers for their clients and investors.” said Michael Ly, CEO of Saasable. “Saasable makes it easy for accounting professionals and startup founders to track and share recurring revenue metrics in one easy to use app by simply connecting their QuickBooks file.”

Read more here.
VTC Receives $ 7.9 Million for Advanced Manufacturing Facility
(September 4, 2020 – Press Release)

Senator Patrick Leahy and Vermont Technical College President Patricia Moulton announced a $7.969 million contract awarded to Vermont Tech from the U.S. Army’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) office as part of its National Imperative for Industrial Skills. The contract, which has an additional $4 million option, will establish the first advanced manufacturing education, research and development facility in Vermont.

The new center, located in Randolph Center, Vt., will bring together students, faculty, and Vermont manufacturers to educate the next-generation workforce in cutting-edge additive manufacturing engineering and design, and support manufacturing innovation.

Read more here.
The vtTA and Other Business Groups Send Letter to Vermont Representatives Opposing the Cloud Tax
(September 15, 2020 – Vermont Technology Alliance)

The House Ways and Means Committee approved a miscellaneous tax bill (H.954) that includes the imposition of the sales tax on “vendor-hosted prewritten software accessed remotely,” also known as software as a service (SaaS) and commonly known as the “Cloud Tax.”

The Vermont Technology Alliance, joined with other Vermont business groups and companies to send a letter to members of the Vermont House opposing the tax and requesting that they vote against this new tax on Vermont businesses and consumers.

Read the letter here.
Omega Optical Acquired by Artemis Capital Partners
(September 15, 2020 – Press Release)

Omega Optical, a leading manufacturer of precision optical filters and coatings based in Brattleboro, VT, announced that it has been acquired by Artemis Capital Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm.

The Company's filter products are designed and fabricated to control the passage of light and enable a broad range of optical applications for global customers in the life science, aerospace & defense, instrumentation, semiconductor, environmental and industrial sensor industries.

"With the strategic support of Artemis, we gain critical additional resources to build on Omega's legacy here in Brattleboro, said Omega's Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Smith. We will continue to pursue further job growth and employee development and be an active member of both the local community and the greater Vermont economy. 

Read more here.
Chester, Vermont Changes Marketing Message to Reach COVID Refugees
(September 4, 2020 – Vermont Public Radio)

The little town of Chester has heard the stories about out-of-staters buying Vermont real estate these past few months. In response, administrators there started a marketing campaign to let would-be Vermonters know that the Windsor County community a nice place to settle down.

Chester’s select board voted to spend $10,000 on a marketing campaign targeting COVID refugees. Chester, a small town of about 3,000, is mainly known for its historic stone buildings, and proximity to many of southern Vermont's ski mountains. And if you go to the town’s business website, you’ll find information about the town’s “blazing fast” internet and walkable downtown.

Read more here.

Vermont Technology Alliance Membership Update

The Vermont Technology Alliance works on behalf of its members and is able to carry out its mission through the support of its membership.

New members include business New members include THINKMD and individual member Michelle Shean.
Renewing members include Firstlight Fiber, which renewed as a Leadership member/sponsor. Also renewing are Brandthropology, Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC, Green Mountain System Works, Merritt & Merritt, NPI Technology Management, The Tech Group, and individual members Eric Plasse and Kristopher Johnston.

Not a vtTA member yet? Then why not join now? Find more information here, or sign up at our new member registration page here. You can also contact us at
Useful Information & Links
Technical Assistance Program Now Available

Governor Phil Scott and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development have announced new resources for businesses navigating the COVID-19 crisis. Free technical assistance is now available through the Small Business Recovery Technical Assistance Program with support in a variety of areas being provided by the state’s 12 regional development corporations, Champlain College, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Northern Community Investment Corporation, and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund. The program is now live, and businesses can begin accessing resources immediately.
Black River Innovation Campus Launches Digital Skills Training Program

The Black River Innovation Campus in Springfield, VT has announced the launch of the Future is Digital Challenge, a digital upskilling initiative for rural America, which includes free 40-hour courses and scholarships offered by Udacity for 3- month “Nanodegrees” along three different tracks: Digital Marketing, Business Analytics, Front-End Developer Fundamentals.

After completing one of Udacity’s foundational courses and passing an assessment, participants will qualify to receive one of Udacity’s Nanodegree Program scholarships. Nanodegrees are educational credentials that are project and skills-based (valued between $1200-$1600). More information is located here.

BRIC is bringing this opportunity to Southern Vermonters and anyone in the following counties is welcomed to apply for the Nanodegree scholarship: Rutland, Bennington, Windsor, and Windham counties. BRIC is presenting a virtual information event on Sept. 30 about the program. Find more here.
Champlain College Fall 2020 Virtual Career Fair

Champlain College Career Collaborative is presenting a Virtual Career Fair on Wednesday, October 21, 1:00-4:00 p.m., hosted on Handshake. Fair participation is targeted to employers who are actively recruiting multiple positions of direct relevance to Champlain’s academic programs. Click here for a list of majors and specializations to determine which ones best align with your talent needs. The fee is $125 for For-profit businesses and $35 for non-profit organizations and government.

Register for the fair here.
The Governor's Institutes of Vermont: Advanced Leadership Immersion

Vermont high school students are invited to join the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont for an eight-month-long deep dive into leadership in all of its many forms, beginning this fall. Students will investigate the structure and systems of leadership, identify their unique talents and strengths, and explore the intersections of authority, individuality, and community. The Immersion will meet online one weekend a month from October through May for classes and leader chats, plus discussion groups and social events scheduled by the students themselves. Tuition uses a “pay what you can” model. Interested students should go to for more information, and to apply.
vtTA Career Center
Vermont Technology Alliance member companies are hiring, and when you visit the Career Center on the Vermont Technology Alliance website you can browse and search for these job openings and subscribe to updates. The Career Center has tech and non-tech jobs with Vermont Technology Alliance member businesses and organizations. Jobs available from vtTA members are listed at no charge in the Career Center as a member benefit.
For more, visit the Career Center.

The vtTA Thanks Its Member/Sponsors
Leadership Sponsors:
Partner Sponsors: