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State loans, tax breaks, investment lured e-Corp

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Posted on December 13, 2010 |
By John Flowers



MONTPELIER — State and local officials on Thursday formally announced e-Corp English’s plans to grow in Middlebury and confirmed details of a state aid package that helped woo the English-language training company to Addison County’s shire town.

The company’s plans, first reported by the Addison Independent, call for an initial work force of 35 workers to locate next year in a vacant 6,700-square-foot space at 1197 Exchange St. Deborah Schwarz, founder and president of e-Corp English, hopes to expand that work force to more than 100 within the next three years.

Gov.-elect Peter Shumlin, Middlebury selectboard Chairman John Tenny and Gov. James Douglas — a Middlebury Republican — announced e-Corp’s impending arrival with Schwarz at a press conference in Montpelier on Thursday.

Douglas helped lay down the welcome mat. And the governor’s alma mater and soon-to-be-employer, foreign language powerhouse Middlebury College, played a significant role in helping woo e-Corp to Middlebury.

“I am very pleased to welcome e-Corp English to Vermont,” Douglas said. “They are just the kind of high-quality employer we are looking to attract to the Green Mountain State. By working collaboratively with the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA), our regional partners and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and utilizing tools like the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive, we are competing for jobs here in Vermont and succeeding.”

Vermont put together a successful incentive package for e-Corp English that includes:

• $175,000 in low-interest loans through VEDA.

• A $200,000 equity investment through the Vermont Seed Capital Fund.

• An offer of more than $200,000 in tax incentives through the Vermont Economic Growth Incentive Program. Those tax credits will be contingent on e-Corp English reaching certain employment milestones during the coming years.

The Addison County Economic Development Corp., local business community and town officials also helped attract e-Corp to Middlebury.

“I am so pleased to have participated in this wonderful project,” said VEDA Chief Executive Officer Jo Bradley. “It is a really good experience when the state works together to get good tech companies to come here to grow.”

Schwarz launched e-Corp English in 2006 in Malta. The company is currently present in the French- and Chinese-speaking markets, instructing businesspeople in English. The company expects to expand into five other linguistic zones over the next five years (Japanese, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish). e-Corp English offers “blended” courses from its distance training platforms, with instruction through software applications, practice via telephone or online virtual class.

“We are grateful for the warm welcome we have received in Vermont,” said Schwarz. “We looked seriously at a number of states, but found it was ultimately Vermont that offered the best combination of high-tech infrastructure, an educated work force with linguistic skills and easy access to European and Asian markets via air. We are looking forward to growing our company here.”

Shumlin sees the arrival of e-Corp as a sign of things to come.

“I am thrilled to welcome e-Corp English to Vermont,” Shumlin said. “e-Corp English’s move to Vermont is a great example of what happens when you make capital available to potential businesses. My administration will be focused on continuing to provide capital so that we can bring more good paying jobs, like these, to Vermont.”

More information about e-Corp — and its job postings — can be found at www.e-corpenglish.com.

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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