UVM Grad Wins $200K Grand Prize to Help His Painting Business Grow

Read the full article at sevendaysvt.com. Here is an excerpt:

Zach Dunn has more work this summer than he can handle. The house-painting company he started with two friends is booked out until next year.

In April, the trio, whose company is called Painting With Purpose, won more than $200,000 in a University of Vermont entrepreneurship contest, a huge boon for their small biz. The "purpose" is the company's pledge to donate 1 to 1.5 percent of its profits to the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity's Samaritan House in St. Albans, which helps people pay their first month's rent, utilities and security deposit as part of getting people out of homeless shelters.

"So far that has had a very high rate of success in terms of how many people accept the money and never become homeless again," Dunn said.

Dunn, 23, graduated from UVM last year. He and his partners, Jake Falanga and Josh Malek, are trying to decide how to spend their winnings in a way that will help their nine-person St. Albans-based company continue to thrive.

"We have a number of options, and one of them is definitely getting more vehicles," Dunn said. A company vehicle was recently hit by a drunk driver while it was parked, forcing him to lend his truck to an employee and take an Uber himself to deliver an estimate. He'd also like to increase the size of the company.