Mill to become software testbed

WINOOSKI Gov. Jim Douglas announced an economic development plan to create more jobs in the software development and information technology sectors. At a news conference at the Champlain Mill in Winooski last week, the governor rolled out a package of incentives and programs that will help stimulate growth in these critical high tech industries. These incentives will help establish the Champlain Mill and Vermont as a center for software development, Governor Douglas said. The combination of Winooskis downtown re-development, Champlain Colleges students, and the colleges commitment to this industry will create a critical mass for firms that will create good jobs and power our economy into the future. The press conference was held in conjunction with the unveiling of Champlain Colleges new Emergent Media Center at the Champlain Mill, which has been renovated into space to accommodate software development firms being recruited to set up operations in Vermont. Among the proposals and incentives the governor announced included: A grant of $150,000 to the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies to be used to make three very low interest loans to help young software designers from the states colleges and universities start a business; A $47,500 grant to the Vermont Software Developers Alliance to help it continue its mission as a trade association promoting the industry in Vermont; A plan to enhance states cash incentive program, the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive or so-called VEGI program, to provide a higher level of benefit to eligible companies creating jobs in software industry; A plan to establish a Research and Development tax credit in Vermont, and; Directing the Vermont Department of Labor under the Next Generation initiative to give internship applications from software and related technology firms priority in their next and subsequent rounds of funding. Our vision of a software development cluster, anchored in partnership with Champlain College and their Emergent Media Center, includes a community of students and professionals, living, learning, and working together in this revitalized neighborhood, Douglas said. Through innovative, pro-growth partnerships such as this, Vermonts economy will be strengthened through the creation of many more good-paying jobs.

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