2017 ASPIRE! Competition

In 2017, NEKCA’s Micro Business Development Program received USDA funding to implement a pilot program which focused on improving the business skills of female entrepreneurs living in the Northeast Kingdom.

ASPIRE! offered technical assistance awards to ten female business owners to help move their businesses forward. The women who were selected to receive the ASPIRE! technical assistance awards were also assigned to a team of business and professional women (a Circle of Support) who volunteered to meet regularly with the entrepreneurs to provide support, guidance, advice and encouragement as she grew her business. This competition was a unique experience, which has created an alumnus of very talented, successful women in our community.

Community Impact

  • $40,000.00 was leveraged and circulated back into the community by utilizing local services for technical assistance.
  • Forty volunteers from our community provided "Circle of Support" accumulating to over 200 hours of volunteer time.
  • Several local businesses and agencies sponsored trainings and events.
  • Six new jobs were created (three of the ten businesses, hired employees as a result of the technical assistance they received).
  • Ten female owned businesses were retained.

This project was made possible with partial funding from the USDA Rural Development and the generosity of the local businesses and organizations showcased below: