In the 225-year history of the University of Vermont, its Founding Land Grant Mission has been focused on utilizing the know-how and research of its faculty to advance agriculture and the ability to extract sustenance from the land. Over the years, the primacy of the growth of adequate food has become less pivotal and in its stead have emerged today's grand challenges: How to provide clean water, clean air, healthy food, good health, employment, and energy in a sustainable and non-toxic way.
In parallel with this evolution has been the realization of the importance of the University and its citizens in interacting with the surrounding community and the State of Vermont. Such interactions take many forms, but an important one especially in terms of generating employment opportunities and tax revenue for the State is that of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The entrepreneurial ecosystem not only translates basic knowledge and science to the benefit of society at large, but also provides new employment opportunities in resulting start-ups and businesses. There has been a progressive growth and interest in the entrepreneurial ecosystem at UVM amongst the students, the faculty, and the staff, and an increasing number of opportunities to learn about, participate in, or receive professional assistance with different aspects of the ecosystem.
In 2015, the UVM Entrepreneurship Forum came into existence as an informal gathering of those at the University interested in these different aspects of entrepreneurship. The Forum has now met on several occasions and its expanding membership brings expertise and enthusiasm for many different aspects of the entrepreneurial spectrum. As the Forum becomes more organized and builds connectivity between the disparate elements of the spectrum that exist at the University, the next stage will be to reach out and include the various representatives of entrepreneurship in our surrounding community and across the State of Vermont.