Dear Friends of Generator,
At about this time last year Generator set clear goals for 2015. We committed to expanding our facilities, growing our membership base, and strengthening our program offerings. We said we would build a world-class residency program that attracts the interest of talent well beyond Vermont's borders. We promised an education program that complements and extends the capacity of our K12 schools while serving the needs of our members and community at large. We said we’d implement a program of thematic mixers and other public gatherings that generate exceptional encounters between innovators and entrepreneurs.
We also said that we’d develop a vision and pathway to ensure a viable physical facility to house our community of makers and our growing operations. The success of this effort would be, in part, contingent on fundraising and earned-income streams that will secure these and other activities as the opportunities emerge.
As we all prepare to welcome 2016, on behalf of the board, staff and membership at Generator, we’re pleased to report that much of what we set out to achieve in 2015 has been accomplished or is well on its way. Here are just a few highlights:
- With thanks to Physician’s Computer Company, our Maker in Residence has facilitated the work of six diverse and extraordinary creatives, working across a range of disciplines - cardboard innovations, jewelry, ceramics, sound design, and robotics.
- Under the strong guidance of Generator’s education program manager Rachel Hooper, our learning opportunities are now comprised of a full schedule of workshop certifications, one-off creative workshops, and multi-week introductory and master classes.
- With support from the City of Burlington, Champlain College, Burlington Telecom, and Hotel Vermont we launched the BIG Maker speaker series in November. Invited guests have included Natalie Jeremijenko and Jae Rhim Lee, with Paolo Pedercini joining us in January.
None of our progress would be possible without you, our champions - our hardworking and generous members, our partner institutions, private and philanthropic investors, and city and state allies - 2015 belongs to you!
As we continue to build a powerful engine of creativity and entrepreneurship in Burlington, here are a few priorities that you can expect to see in the year ahead - each and all a welcome opportunity to engage with us around strategy, partnerships and fundraising. We’ll look to:
- Expand our Maker in Residence to include “Entrepreneur in Residence” and “Educator in Residence” opportunities, bringing increased focus and resources to the support we provide across the innovation pipeline.
- Grow education partnerships with schools and community institutions that expand middle and high school opportunities for hand-on creativity and learning learning across our studio capabilities, with a focus on key gaps identified by educators.
- Deepen university collaboration though our “Pitch It, Fab It!” and BioFabLab initiatives with the University of Vermont, new student-centered partnerships with Community College of Vermont and Vermont Tech, and expanded engagement with Champlain College.
- Expand retail and entrepreneurial opportunities for our members which will include a robust effort to develop and promote the “Made in BTV” brand to excite more independent fabricators and consumers about the potential to grow their production from Burlington.
We’ll pursue these goals without compromising our commitment to our members, the heart and soul of Generator: to always strive to be the most vibrant and productive place to learn, create and launch new ventures in Vermont. We’ll continue to make investments in our facility, in the tools that we have available, in programs that deliver real value, partnerships that help us secure complementary resource-sharing, and ensure the right staffing structure to ensure a welcoming, safe and thriving environment.
On behalf of the entire Generator community, thank you for your support in 2015. We look forward to building a stronger, more vibrant and successful community of makers in the year ahead.
Sincerely, and best wishes for 2016,
Lars Hasselblad Torres
Director, Burlington Generator