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Cairn Cross

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MONTPELIER — The work of economic development specialist Cairn Cross will be celebrated Friday at Caledonia Spirits in Montpelier. Cross’ work is said to have helped grow the entrepreneur ecosystem in Vermont, allowing Vermont entrepreneurs to create thousands of jobs.

The event is organized by Lever, a startup accelerator based in North Adams, Mass. Cross has served on Lever’s board of directors since 2017. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit eventbrite.com/e/cairnival-tickets-386931962917.

Cross grew up in North Adams and now lives in Northern Vermont. Best known as the co-founder and managing director of FreshTracks Capital, he and co-founder Charlie Kireker have helped foster an investment ecosystem in Vermont and Northern New England that has continued to grow, inspiring other firms, investors and entrepreneurs in the process. Since it was founded in 2000, FreshTracks has catalyzed more than $500 million in investments to high-growth Vermont companies, including the EatingWell Media Group, still based in Vermont and now a leading national source of diet and wellness information, and SunCommon, which has now helped 8,000 homeowners go solar and expanded to serve customers in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Of the Vermont entrepreneur ecosystem, “There’s so much more going on here than outsiders think,” said Sam Roach-Gerber, vice president of the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies. “People like Cairn have seen it and believed it ,and made it happen for so many years. We have thriving cybersecurity and biotech and aerospace … we’re finally getting a spotlight.”

Cross serves on the boards of FreshTracks portfolio companies NativeEnergy, Faraday and Mamava and is an observer to the ThinkMD and Caledonia Spirits boards. In addition to his work with FreshTracks Capital, Cross is a lecturer at the University of Vermont Grossman School of Business, where he teaches financing sustainable innovation for its SI-MBA program. He is a member of the Vermont Advisory Board of the Center for Women and Enterprise.