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Micro Business Development Program (MBDP)

(A program of Vermont’s
Community Action Programs)
Serving Orleans, Essex and Caledonia Counties

Growing Vermont’s economy from within . . . One business at a time

Our mission statement is to provide technical assistance to low to moderate income Vermonters who own or intend to start a small business.

Our goals are:

  • To foster self-employment as a route to economic self-sufficiency for Vermonters facing economic, social or medical challenges.
  • To provide assistance and education for business start-up and management.
  • To offer counseling and on-going support to assist participants in achieving long-term success.

What is a Micro Business?

It is a business that employs less than five people and generates less than $25,000.00 in annual revenue. A micro business is usually a partnership, sole proprietorship, or family business. The owners are often engaged in a small-scale service, retail, manufacturing or agricultural business.

Our Results Can Be Seen In Communities Across The State

Since 1998, we have helped over 9,000 low and moderate income Vermonters to strengthen their economic self-sufficiency and the economic vitality of their communities. We have supported the launch or expansion of over 1,600 micro businesses and helped Vermonters access more than $12 million in financing for their businesses.

Technical assistance is critical to the success of our participants!

One-To-One Counseling

MBDP business development specialists assist individuals through all phases of entrepreneurship. This includes:

  • Business feasibility
  • Business plan development
  • Organizational structure of business
  • Market research and analysis
  • Marketing (marketing materials)
  • Financials
  • Credit issues/Budgeting
  • Expansions
  • Referrals to other programs/resources
All counseling is strictly confidential.

Business Loan Application Assistance

MBDP assists individuals in preparing loan applications for both alternative and conventual lending institutions. We also work with individuals to help repair their credit and to develop good financial management skills before they apply for a loan.

Educational Opportunities

MBDP offers a variety of learning opportunities throughout the year. This includes seminars, workshops, and classes. Seminars are usually one-day events, which are hosted by a guest speaker (an expert in his or her field) who resides in our community. Workshops range from 1-3 hours and may consist of having to meet once a week for several weeks. Classes, such as the Nxlevel® Basic Business Plan Training Course, is more intense and is held on a weekly basis over a 6-8 week period. Topics include:

  • Business Development
  • Marketing
  • Soft Skills
  • Record keeping/Taxes

The best way to stay informed about upcoming events is to ask the counselor you are working with to add you to the email list!

Credit Counseling (Nationally Certified Counselor)

MBDP works with individuals one to one to help them resolve their credit issues, whether that means working with their debtors, correcting mistakes on their credit report, personal budgeting and financial management, and/ or learning how to increase their credit score.

Vermont Women’s Business Center

MBDP partners with the Vermont Women’s Business Center to offer one to one counseling and on-going support to women-owned businesses. The Vermont Women’s Business Center offers networking opportunities, workshops, and classes both in our region and statewide.

Individual Development Accounts

Individual Development Accounts (IDA) are special matched savings accounts, which can be used to start or expand a business, attend college or a technical school, or purchase a home. MBDP implements the program, which includes financial literacy classes and ongoing guidance through the process.

Tax Preparation

MBDP offers FREE tax preparation to income eligible individuals through their VITA site locations. Our counselors are trained to assist with both federal and state taxes including renter rebates and homestead declarations.

Referrals to other Relevant Programs

Often there are additional circumstances or situations that may be an obstacle to starting or expanding your business. The MBDP staff is very knowledgeable about other programs and agencies that may be beneficial. Please don’t hesitate to ask.


Vermont Dept. of Employment and Training
Vermont Div. Of Vocational Rehabilitation
Vermont Dept. of Economic Services
Vermont Development Credit Union
Vermont Community Loan Fund
Economic Development Council of Northern Vermont and local revolving loan funds
Vermont Women’s Business Center
SBA’s Women’s Business Center
The University of Vermont
Northern Community Investment Corp.
Community Capital of Vermont

Contact Information

Amy Robinson
Director, NEKCA Micro Business/Workplace Dev. Prog.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
108 Cherry Street
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
Fax 802.748.0732
32 Central Street
Newport, VT 05855

Statewide MBDP website:

Micro Business Development Program Staff

  • Amy Robinson - Director, NEKCA Micro Business/Workforce Development Program

Our Well-Trained Business Counselors Can Be Found Statewide

Southwestern Vermont Community Action, Inc.
(Rutland and Bennington Counties)
Phone: 802-775-0878
Toll-free: 800-717-2762
Central Vermont Community Action
Council, Inc.
(Orange, Washington, and Lamoille Counties)
Phone: 802-479-1053
Toll-free: 800-639-1053
Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, Inc.
(Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties)
Phone: 802-860-1417
Toll-free: 800-287-7971
Southeastern Vermont Community Action, Inc.
(Windham and Windsor Counties)
Phone: 802-722-4575
Toll-free: 800-464-9951