By Jim Therrian, as seen in the Bennington Banner: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/pownal-business-network-plans-la...
POWNAL — A new business support group called the Pownal Business Network will hold its first meeting on Nov. 8 and simultaneously launch a network website.
The group will host an evening of networking for Pownal business owners, independent contractors and other residents from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Pownal American Legion Post 90 on Route 7. The event is free and open to the public.
Jenny Dewar, owner of the Karin's Place: A Retreat, and Richard Smith, plant manager of TAM Recycling in Pownal, said the project grew from discussions among Economic Development Task Force members. The task force is one of five created as part of the Empower Pownal program, which was facilitated over the summer by the Vermont Council on Rural Development.
"This is the first event we've coordinated," Dewar said. "We're trying to establish a networking group for the town of Pownal."
She said the focus will be on helping business owners, farmers and food producers; those with a home Internet-based business and others with marketing or improving their businesses.
"It will be like a little mini-chamber," she said. "We want to be supportive of each other and give each other feedback."
"This will be a gathering of business owners and independent contractors and interested residents," Smith said. "We want to get together and help promote businesses in Pownal and create jobs."
In addition, Dewer is designing and will maintain a website for the group as a place to share information and allow links to local business webpages. She'll also create basic web pages for local business if needed.
The group hopes to establish a listing of all the businesses in Pownal, she said, and to possibly create a location map to help promote the town and the businesses.
"At this point, no one knows how many businesses and contractors there are in Pownal," she said.
Business owners also are invited to bring marketing or business materials to the meeting to display and distribute. And Dewers said they are invited to send information ahead of time for inclusion in the new website.
Information can be sent to Jenny Dewar, P.O. Box 65, Pownal, VT 05261, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on local and state resources for starting or growing a business will be made available from the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce, the Lightning Jar collaboration, based in Bennington, and the Vermont Small Business Development Center.
There will be a cash bar and appetizers will be served. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with time to mingle, followed by remarks from Dewer and Smith. The network website will be demonstrated at 7:30 p.m., followed by additional opportunities to network.
Donations will be accepted at the door to cover the cost of the food and further networking opportunities, Dewer said.
The project was developed during meetings of the Economic Development Task Force.
According to a press release announcing the networking group, it grew from "discussion about current Pownal businesses and independent contractors, including but not limited to farmers, plumbers, electricians, food producers, hospitality and home based Internet operations. Task force members decided that a networking opportunity would be welcome in the Pownal community."
The initial gathering "is an opportunity for people to meet neighbors, learn about other local businesses, compare strategies and marketing ideas, and explore possibilities for new business and growth," the release stated.
In addition to the economic development task force, others created as part of Empower Pownal will focus on development of trails and other recreation opportunities; development of a network of food and farm producers; reducing barriers to starting a businesses in Pownal; growing jobs through business incubation and redevelopment of underutilized properties, and building a community-wide cleanup effort to curb illegal dumping.
Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont and VTDigger.org. @BB_therrien on Twitter.