We're so excited to have our first group of entrepreneurs joining us for OnRamp, The MINT's Entrepreneurship Development program. Members of the OnRamp cohort have access to business experts from across our community, will complete an entrepreneurship curriculum from CoStarters, and go from idea to complete business in one year! One year of MINT membership, including special members-only pricing for classes, co-working space from Green Mountain Power in the Energy Innovation Center, access to OnRamp mentors and one-on-one support is all included! Supported by a ThinkVermont Innovation Grant and partnerships with LaunchVT and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technology's Scale Here program, local matching money, plus the generous assistance of various local companies, we can't wait to see these businesses grow!
Jen Cohen has lived in Idaho Falls, Pittsburgh, New York City, and, for the last 26 years, Rutland. She has a BFA in piano performance from SUNY Purchase, and a MEd from the University of Vermont. For 12 years Jen taught music in the Mill River School District. During that time she became interested and proficient in the steel drums, and in 2017, she left the public schools to start her business, Calypso Connections. Calypso offers steel drum workshops as a way to bring people together, whether it be corporate team building, wellness, or friends and family who want to have fun learning something new. Her latest project is Always Upbeat which is a video subscription series that combines musical activity with gentle exercise, and is designed for the 55+ demographic. Outside of Calypso, Jen teaches piano and steel drums, leads the steelband Panhandlers, and is a tour guide with Discovery Bicycle Tours.
Tim Hewitt grew up in Rutland County, graduated high school from Rutland Area Christian School in Rutland, and received his Mechanical Engineering degree from LeTourneau University. Tim Returned to Vermont in 2011 to work as a Manufacturing Quality Engineer for GE Aviation. In 2014, Tim started Preferred Restrooms with one trailer while still full time at GE. In 2018, after operating two trailers, went part time and then went full time with Preferred Restrooms in 2019 operating four trailers. His passion is his family, five kids and playing with them. Tim loves to tinker, make stuff work, and play in the snow.
Erica Zimmer is a local maker and teacher who grew up in Brandon, Vermont and spent time traveling and living abroad in Chile and The Philippines before planting her roots once again in Vermont. In 2012, at age 34, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Once in remission, she was determined not to let life pass her by, so she sought out new experiences and adventures. In the spring of 2018, she took an intro to woodworking class at The MINT Makerspace in Rutland and was instantly hooked. She had never touched a saw before and now wants to start a woodworking business, Vermont Workroom, with her business partner Lauren Olewnik. The idea behind Vermont Workroom is to make woodworking accessible to everyone especially women and non-binary makers. Erica and Lauren dream of having a homegoods and furniture line as well as offering classes and sharing tutorials online around woodworking and making.
Patty Thomas grew up in Abington, Massachusetts. Thomas obtained a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy at Boston University in 1997. She relocated to Vermont in 2000 and has worked as a pediatric Occupational Therapist in public schools for more than 20 years. Thomas completed the Leadership Education for Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Fellowship at the University of Vermont in 2014-15 with a concentration in Assistive Technology.
Thomas is a lifelong learner, tinkerer and inventor. She enjoys creating solutions to help people with challenges access everyday activities. In her free time, Thomas enjoys sewing, woodworking (a new-found hobby, thanks to The Mint!) arts, snowmobiling, dirt bike riding and spending time with her family. Thomas is most excited to earn the official title of Entrepreneur and to be a part of the OnRamp Program.
A recent transplant from New Jersey, Darian Marie Fagan is an occupational therapist with the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region in Rutland, Vermont. In her native state, Fagan obtained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Italian Studies at Monmouth University before attending Seton Hall University for a Master's of Science in Occupational Therapy. Since relocating to the Rutland, Vermont area, Fagan thrives on working with families and other healthcare professionals to help adults in the community age in place safely. An avid horror movie and mixed martial arts enthusiast, Fagan is honored to have the opportunity to work on her entrepreneurial endeavors with the support of The MINT's OnRamp program.
Mari VerduzcoLa Catrina
Maria Luisa Verduzco was born in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico and grew up in Ciudad Constitución, Baja California Sur, Mexico. She was the owner and lead stylist of Image salon for 25 years until she moved to Vermont in July of 2016. Upon moving to Vermont she decided to follow her dream of cooking and sharing her love of Mexican cuisine. She is a lover of all things culinary and believes that food brings people together and helps to create joyful memories. When she is not cooking you can find her sewing, refurbishing old furniture, working on one of her other thousand projects and crafts, or spending time with friends and family. She is excited and grateful for this opportunity with OnRamp, and can’t wait to see what comes from it.
A place for tinkerers, makers, and small businesses to have space, contacts, and equipment to thrive. If you possess a passion for creating and making, a MINT membership is for you.