The decline of Springfield’s manufacturing industry in the late 20th century has brought about a cycle of renewal, with the amenities adapting to meet the times.
The Black River Innovation Campus (BRIC) has become a hub for entrepreneurship and digital economy opportunities. Ivy League resources are just a half an hour away at Dartmouth College. And now, the town’s 8,900 residents can brag about having some of the fastest internet in the country, thanks to Vermont Telephone Company’s pursuit of fiber-to-the-home after the Great Recession, making it ripe for 21st-century innovation and luring high-paying jobs back to the town.
Recently listed by PC Mag as a 2021 top-ten “Work From Home Town,” Springfield is one of Vermont’s 23 designated downtowns. It sports a boutique cinema, a craft brewery, a micro coffee roaster and café, and fantastic farm-to-table dining. And it’s all within 30 minutes of prime skiing and mountain biking locations.
Innovation and tech entrepreneurship can happen anywhere — and Springfield is proof that rural places are part of that equation.
Learn more about what’s happening
It should come as little surprise that a town with a history of world-class innovation is once again establishing itself as a hub of technology and entrepreneurship. Local leaders have embarked on a bold strategy to reinvention to the demands of the 21st century. Just some of the exciting things happening in Springfield now:
• Operating in the historic Park Street School building, the Black River Innovation Campus combines scalable growth opportunities for tech startups and digitally-enabled companies with digital skills training and workforce development initiatives
• Place-based philanthropy from the Vermont Community Foundation is reshaping downtown Springfield by investing in a cohesive vision for the town..
• One startup, qBraid, is attempting to create the next wave of quantum computing with its cloud-based learning and coding platform.
• An increasingly diverse array of remote workers and entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the blazing-fast broadband available in Springfield.
• Another startup, Voi, is using cutting edge tools to tackle the mental health challenges of our time.
The Rural Edge series
At CORI, we have a saying: once you’ve seen one rural community, you’ve seen one rural community. America’s small towns are diverse and dynamic, and through our work with our Rural Innovation Network, we have the privilege of working in depth with 18 communities building digital economy ecosystems. To highlight these incredible places, Siegel Family Endowment and the Walmart Foundation provided funding for us to create video stories highlighting our communities’ efforts.
Check out previous installments in the series:
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