News & Events

The Center for Women and Enterprise Wins Mayor’s Prize to Support Entrepreneurship

Burlington, VT - The Center for Women & Enterprise Vermont is delighted to have won the first Mayor’s Prize for Entrepreneurship, a partnership between the City of Burlington and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to help early-stage, high-growth, women-owned businesses grow their businesses, create jobs, and generate increased revenue. With this $55,000 award, CWEVT will offer 3 sessions of Power Forward, a 4-month accelerator program. The program will be offered at no-cost to women-owned firms with a value of at least $25,000 to $250,000. Participants will gain skills, resources, and networks to explore new markets and overcome barriers to growth through a 13-week intensive strategic planning course followed by individual mentoring. One session will be specifically tailored to the needs of the food & beverage industry, with the other two sessions tailored to the needs of service providers and product manufacturers from all industries.

“It is an honor to work with Burlington Mayor Weinberger and the Kauffman Foundation on this innovative initiative,” says CWE Vermont Director Gwen Pokalo. “Through this partnership, we’ll support a segment of business owners often underserved due to their stage of development. The Power Forward program is designed with the understanding that women-owned businesses face different challenges as they face growth potential. The Mayor’s Prize demonstrates a community commitment and interest in ‘Changing the Story’ about the role of women-owned businesses in Burlington’s economic community. We’re excited to collaborate with the other fantastic entrepreneur support programs and organizations across the city on this initiative.”

The first session will launch in early Spring 2018. The program is now accepting applications. More information and applications are available at or by contacting Gwen Pokalo, CWE Vermont Director, at

Change The Story VT 2016 Status Report: Women’s Business Ownership and the Vermont Economy found that “women-owned businesses have the potential to play a much bigger role in Vermont’s economic development. If just 1 in 4 of the existing 20,786 women-owned businesses without employees hired one worker, it would result in an additional 5,200 new jobs.” Nationally, women-owned businesses are growing in numbers of firms, revenue, and job creation at a rate five times the average of male-owned businesses. However, for women-owned businesses, “growth in Vermont was 12 percentage points below that in the U.S” (Change the Story, 2016).

More information about the Mayor’s Prize is available on the City of Burlington website.

About the Center for Women & Enterprise

Established in 1995, the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) is a non-profit organization that provides education, training, resources and connections to women (and men) through Centers in Boston, MA; Westborough, MA; Nashua, NH; Providence, RI; Burlington, VT; and Community Classrooms throughout New England. CWE also operates the Veterans Business Outreach Center of New England (VBOC of NE) that equips veteran and active duty service members and their families with the resources to help them start and run their businesses. In addition, CWE is the New England affiliate for Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), serving as their certification arm for women-owned businesses. WBENC Certification is nationally recognized in helping established women business owners access new corporate contracts with organizations that are actively seeking supplier diversity.  

To learn more about CWE visit,  Find CWE on Facebook at , Twitter at and LinkedIn, Friends of Center for Women & Enterprise.