Chittenden County is one of the few areas of Vermont with a growing and increasingly ethnically and racially diverse population. This demographic shift is fueled in large part by the presence of an official refugee resettlement program that places immigrants from around the globe in towns such as Burlington, Winooski, and Essex. Successful adaptation to their new homes is based in large part on employment and economic opportunity for these newcomers, yet for many their dream is not to work in a factory or store but rather to own and operate their own businesses. However, being unfamiliar with their new environment and often times with the process of preparing business plans, they find it difficult to launch such ventures.
The proposed project involves developing a refugee entrepreneurship model in conjunction with the Association for Africans Living in Vermont.