Mayor Sanders’ office issued this background statement with an overview of the economic challenges facing the City of Burlington in the 1980s:

“The City of Burlington, Vermont enjoys considerable natural and cultural advantages that have, in large part, been responsible for dramatic economic growth within surrounding Chittenden County. Despite these overall advantages, the core economy of the City of Burlington appears to lag considerably behind the rest of the county and other regions of the state on key indicators of income and quality of employment opportunities for Burlington residents. This gap between County and City and the related overall trend toward low skill, service employment is unacceptable to the citizens of Burlington and their elected leadership.”[1]

One of the solutions presented by the Office of the Mayor was the Burlington Local Ownership Development Project, a special initiative of CEDO designed to encourage a range of locally owned and controlled business enterprises in their start-up phase. The local ownership business development strategy seeks to create quality and stable job opportunities for Burlington residents.

“Established in 1983 under the leadership of then-Mayor Bernie Sanders, Burlington’s Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) aims to engage the community to build a vibrant, healthy, and equitable City. Its economic development efforts include targeted assistance to small businesses, microenterprises, and employers who provide livable wage jobs. It also runs the Burlington Revolving Loan Program, which has provided over $10 million in loans to more than 140 small businesses since its inception in 1984.”[2]