Written/Filmed by Katie Chapa at My Champlain Valley & Local 44 News, February 7, 2018

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Two Vermont companies making a difference internationally, have joined together to bring their innovative technologies together. They’re now sharing some of their secrets to success.

THINKMD and Ona are two startups that blossomed out of VCET, Vermont Center of Emerging Technologies.

VCET is a nonprofit that was started in 2005 by Senator Patrick Leahy, the University of Vermont and Dr. John Evans at the Vermont Technology Council.  Its goal is to help entrepreneurs find an advantage as they start, scale and expand their businesses in the state.

Ona, a local health and technology startup, which means “to see” in Swahili, has a mission to help governments provide better health services to their people, using mobile technology.

Matt Berg, CEO of Ona, grew up in Africa and says he wanted to use technology to find ways to help people.

THINKMD is a social venture founded by two pediatricians from University of Vermont, with a focus of developing technology to eliminate preventable death in children around the world.

The two companies have formed a partnership, after meeting each other at VCET. And because of the resources being offered locally, each company credits the state for its budding growth.   

“We haven’t seen any reason to leave this ecosystem, there’s a lot of entrepreneurial grit here and a lot of talent here, so we’ve seen no reason to move,” Donowitz said.

“VCET is creating an ecosystem where there’s a high density for ideas and innovators to connect. So we’re pulling talent from across the room which makes it much easier to get a business off the ground and find people you need to find,” Donowitz said.

For Berg, VCET has helped his company grow a network. He says he’s looking forward to the mentorship the VCET team has to offer.

Both companies are excited for the future. Looking ahead, they plan to integrate software together to connect community level health assessment data with national health systems. By rolling out this combined offer to health workers globally, both Ona and THINKMD hope to use mobile data to save children’s lives.

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