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Executive Director, Black River Innovation Campus (BRIC)

The Southern Windsor County Incubator (SWCI), dba Black River Innovation Campus (BRIC), aims to spark the development of a digital economy ecosystem in Springfield, VT. At the heart of our strategy is a belief that Springfield needs a world class entrepreneurship center to support, incubate and accelerate dynamic startups that can leverage the community’s unique 10 gigabit broadband infrastructure.

Reporting to the BRIC Board of Directors, we are seeking an experienced and innovative leader to build the organization and realize this ambitious vision.

Our approach focuses on the development of an Innovation Campus in Springfield – an initiative that offers digital job skills training for the “future of work,” co-working space, distance work opportunities, new business incubation, housing for young knowledge workers, amenities and cultural resources. Critical to our approach is access to broadband infrastructure, partnerships with regional higher education institutions and venture financing, some of which we will provide via a committed pool of capital we are currently raising.

BRIC has partnered with the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) to apply its model for building Innovation Campuses to our project in Springfield. The startups will receive training, connections to other innovation resources from around the country including those at Dartmouth College, and mentorship and support from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners. The BRIC Board of Directors includes strong local community leadership combined with world class innovation thought leaders and investors. With over $500,000 already raised from the Kauffman Foundation, The Siegel Family Endowment, The Vermont Community Foundation and members of the entrepreneurial community around the region, the organization has the platform to become a model for rural communities around the country.

Our initiative will bring young innovators to the community and enable local talent to pursue digital careers. The primary program will launch a pitch contest focused on promising startups that rely on gigabit or greater bandwidth, the unique infrastructure available in Springfield. Winners will be awarded a stipend, an apartment, training and mentoring support for one to two years while working on their inventions at the Springfield facility. BRIC will build the cohort over three years beginning with 2-4 teams in Year 1 and grow it to 10-12 data intensive startups by Year 3. We anticipate a number of the launched startups will remain in Springfield, contribute to the innovation ecosystem, bring new residents to the town and hire from within the community.

POSITION OVERVIEW

The Executive Director will be BRIC’s internal and external leader with high visibility throughout the regional and national tech and venture communities as well as within the local community of Springfield, VT. The Executive Director is responsible for building the Entrepreneurship Center from the ground up with a specific focus on developing and implementing strategies for operations, marketing, partnerships, start-up selection, and fundraising. The Director is also responsible for cultivating and enabling the success of the start-ups invited to join the Center. This includes oversight of all pre-program activities, management during the program and oversight of all program wrap-up work. In addition, the Executive Director will lead collaborative efforts with other aspects of the BRIC ecosystem including the computer science education program, remote work initiative and real estate development as it relates to creating an excellent live/work environment for the entrepreneurs.

The Director should have experience problem-solving for start-up companies and be able to communicate with and advocate for both the start-up teams and potential investors. The Director must have the strong operational and tactical capabilities needed to work in a high-pressure, nimble startup environment. Also, the Director should have experience fundraising from the public, private and government organizations.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

Leadership

  • Run the Entrepreneurship Center and manage its activities.

  • Work to continually improve and support policies that encourage entrepreneurship at all levels and with an emphasis on inclusion.

  • Align entrepreneurial activities with wider BRIC activities to attract companies, stakeholders and others to the Springfield ecosystem.

  • Build a strong network of relationships with a variety of key stakeholders at the local, regional, state and national level to support and empower entrepreneurship

  • Develop funding, talent and programmatic resources to advance startups.

Programming

  • Create, maintain, and streamline an effective set of programs and activities that support entrepreneurship and startup creation.

  • Design and organize programs featuring the workshops, mentor sessions, entrepreneurs and investors that will be the most impactful for the BRIC participants and the regional innovation ecosystem as a whole.

  • Create new programs that support entrepreneurship in Springfield and the region.

Marketing

  • Maintain a robust and regular media presence that continually promotes the Entrepreneurship Center separately and in conjunction with BRIC.

  • Promote entrepreneurial successes to maintain and support a world-class reputation in entrepreneurship.

  • Seek awards and recognition that demonstrate the excellence of the teams and BRIC.

Funding Opportunities

  • Seek to support and optimize the asset creation in the Entrepreneurship Center.

  • Align entrepreneurial activities and assets to maximize opportunities for entrepreneurship, startup creation, commercialization of technologies and know-how, and move ideas to impact.

  • Develop relationships with funding providers and support organizations that can advance the success of startup teams within BRIC.

  • Seek grant, fee and sponsorship funding for entrepreneurial initiatives.

Organization Metrics

  • Develop and maintain a set of key metrics that demonstrate the effectiveness of the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. Metrics may include:

    • Startup success metrics

    • Program success metrics

    • Awards and recognition metrics

    • Funding metrics related to available resources, funds invested and funds leveraged via partnerships and the market

    • Community engagement metrics


KNOWLEDGE/SKILLS/QUALIFICATIONS

  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field required, master’s degree preferred.

  • 8-10 years of relevant experience working in a startup and/or venture ecosystem.

  • Demonstrated interest, aptitude, and knowledge of technology, entrepreneurship, and venture.

  • Proven ability as a highly motivated individual able to take the initiative and manage a variety of functions and projects simultaneously.

  • Ability to manage multiple priorities with competing deadlines.

  • Proven leadership and management experience including managing across the organization from board members to inexperienced start-up team members to encourage the success of each entity.

  • Experience interfacing with executive leadership, including sophisticated boards and stakeholders.

  • Superior communication and presentation skills.

  • Strong financial management skills.

  • Experience raising funds and acquiring resources in the venture ecosystem.

COMPENSATION

Compensation commensurate with qualifications of the applicant.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume via the link below by October 15. A background check is required for employment in this position.The Southern Windsor County Incubator is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer committed to achieving a diverse workforce.