Micro Business Development Program

Have you ever considered launching a business?  Do you have a business but still have questions and would like to learn more about business management?From startup to long-term sustainability, we support new and established entrepreneurs to make their dreams and aspirations a reality.


The Micro Business Development Program can provide you with training and technical assistance if you are a small buisness owner or want to explore self-employment.

Take advantage of opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs, attending virutal workshops, or meeting one-on-one with our experienced business counselors.

Learn how to:

  • Develop and test your business concept

  • Select the best business entry option

  • Organize and manage your business

  • Research and market your business

  • Understand and get your financials in order

  • Finance for your business

Since 1988, we have assisted more than 3,000 low-income individuals with planning the startup or expansion of a small business, including over $2 million in financing leveraged for businesses.

WE PROVIDE ONE-TO-ONE BUSINESS COACHING BY PHONE and IN-PERSON. There is no charge for our services. Please see the "contact us at Micro Business" page for details on how to get in touch. Or call the receptionist at Capstone Community Action, 802-479-1053, and leave your name and number. A business counselor will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Free on Zoom -- Capstone Business Workshops 

EMBRACE Grant information can be found here. Capstone Business Counselors can help you apply for these funds which have been made available by the State in support of the negative impact of Covid on Vermont's small businesses.

For more information on how the statewide Micro Business Development Program can assist with helping you grow your small business or realizing your dreams of self-employment, click here.  

The MBDP operates statewide through each of the five Community Action Agencies in Vermont.




We offer the following support to current and aspiring entrepreneurs:

Business Workshops (in-person temporarily suspended):  The Micro Business Development Program of Capstone Community Action offers a “Business Building Blocks” workshop series.  Business experts will present information on a number of topics including assessing business opportunities, writing a business plan, balancing work and family life, record keeping and tax planning, determining insurance needs, setting the right price for your product or service, strategizing with cash flow projections, and developing a marketing plan.

One-to-one business counseling: Experienced counselors, who have owned their own businesses and intimately understand the challenges and rewards, can offer support from the start of your vision, through the planning stages, all the way to launch day.  From there, our counselors can offer continued support to help you meet your goals and maintain and grow a successful business.  For clients who have established businesses, we can offer assistance specific to your needs.

Financial Education:  If you have ever wondered how to read your credit report or why your credit score matters, we can help.  We offer financial education to help people establish credit or build their credit score so that they can begin to build assets and become financially secure.

We are offering one-to-one business counseling and financial education in-person and by phone. There is no cost for these services. In-person meetings require an appointment and a mask. Please see the "contact us at Micro Business" page for details. 

Capstone Business Counselors can help you apply for the EMBRACE grant. Your business may be eligible for $5,000. Find more information here.

Current Zoom Business Workshops at Capstone (Free), Details

May 5 - Business Start Up Basics

May 12 - Writing a Business Plan

May 19 - Cash Flow

May 26 - Marketing

June 2 - Social Media

Contact Rosie with questions or for more information: 802-636-7752 or rmanning@capstonevt.org; please CALL if you have problems logging on. 


In-person workshops have been suspended for the time being due to Covid-19 concerns.




Contact Us at Micro Business

To discuss your business vision or to request counseling on an existing business, contact Margaret Ferguson at mferguson@capstonevt.org if you are in the Barre area. Or leave your name and number with our receptionist at 802-479-1053. 

Contact Mary Johnson, The Money Coach, at 802-760-8209 or mjohnson@capstonevt.org if you are in the Morrisville area.

Our counselors are working with folks by phone and online during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as some in-person meetings by appointmnet. Mask required. Our coaches can help you naviage through these tough economic times and access dedicated business funding as it becomes available.


Capstone Community Action Receiving $200K Grant

Release Date: 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

BARRE, Vt. -- Capstone Community Action is receiving a $200,000 grant from the Small Business Administration’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs across Vermont. PRIME assists low-income entrepreneurs who lack sufficient training and education to gain capital to establish and expand their small businesses.

The grant will fund the statewide Micro Business Development program run by Capstone and other organizations, including the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity, Bennington-Rutland Opportunity Council, Northeast Kingdom Community Action and Southeastern Vermont Community Action.

The SBA placed special emphasis in this year’s competition on projects that will offer training and technical assistance to strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly those servicing entrepreneurs in rural areas and historically underutilized business zones. 

“Capstone and the Micro Business Development program have a great record of empowering low-income Vermonters who are interested in starting their own business. Aspiring entrepreneurs learn how to develop a business plan and become better prepared to take on the challenges that business ownership presents.  Capstone is deserving of this grant and I am looking forward to hearing about the inspiring success stories arising out of their efforts,” said Wendell Davis, SBA New England Regional Administrator. 

According to Capstone’s website, its mission is to provide comprehensive services to help people achieve economic well-being with dignity and develops partnerships to strengthen Vermont communities.  Capstone has a commitment to alleviate the suffering caused by poverty, to work with individuals and families to move out of poverty, and to advocate for economic justice for all Vermonters.

“At Capstone Community Action, and our sister-agencies across the state, our purpose is to empower economically disadvantaged individuals with the tools, resources and opportunities to rise out of poverty, states Sue Minter, Executive Director of Capstone Community Action. “The Micro Business Development Program is key to this effort. With one-in-four working Vermonters employed by a micro business, either as an employee or owner, Vermont’s economy, quite literally, is built one job, one small business at a time. Over the past three years this program has helped entrepreneurs launch 183 new businesses, creating 351 new jobs and accessing more than $4.3 million in capital from local financial institutions.” 

Capstone was one of 30 organizations across the United States to receive a PRIME grant. PRIME grants range from $75,000 to $250,000, and typically require at least 50 percent in matching funds or in-kind contributions. In total, over 130 organizations applied for PRIME grants in 2019.   

“The SBA is proud to help small businesses access capital while also ensuring they have access to the resources and training needed to create healthy, sustainable businesses,” SBA Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton said. 

PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act of 1999. Grant funds will be available Sept. 30. The project period for each grant is one year.

For more information about PRIME grants and a list of grant recipients, visit www.sba.gov/content/prime-grantees.

Recent Blog Post

Release Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2019BARRE, Vt. -- Capstone Community Action is receiving a $200,000 grant from the Small Business Administration’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs across Vermont. PRIME assists low-income entrepreneurs who lack sufficient training and education to gain capital to establish and expand their small businesses.

Contact: Yvonne Lory, Capstone Community ActionPhone: (802) 477-5123Email: ylory@capstonevt.org  Morse Block Deli Celebrates a New Milestone

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Margaret Ferguson, Business CounselorPhone: 802-477-5214Email: mferguson@capstonevt.org Need a Career Boost?

National Small Business Week is May 4 -11 Small business owners power our economy….and our communities.  When I think about what I purchase from small business owners each week throughout the year, I’m amazed at the depth and breadth of their products and expertise.  In my opinion, every day is a day to celebrate our small business owners! 

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