February 12th, 2016
A premier location. An airport. Land – and enough of it – for industrial development. Major improvements taking place where Interstate 93 runs through it. And beer. We caught up with Will Stewart, president of the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, who filled us in on what’s happening and what’s ahead in this region.
Will Stewart ~ Great Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce
1. Derry-Londonderry is one busy place these days, which is great to see. The region had a great piece of news at the end of 2015, with the ribbon cutting at Pettengill Road. What’s all the excitement about there?
It sure is busy place, and the newly-opened Pettengill Road is at the epicenter of the excitement right now. The road itself is less than a mile in length, but it opens up nearly 1,000 acres to industrial development, right alongside Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and between Route 3 and Interstate 93. This is the biggest single economic development opportunity in the state since the creation of the Pease International. About 1.2 million square feet has already been built, or is under construction there, with more in the pipeline. This is truly a case of “if you build it, they will come.”
2. The latest 10-year transportation plan recently submitted by Gov. Hassan includes plans for Interstate 93 and Exit 4A. How important is this for the communities?
It’s huge. Exit 4A is going to be a game-changer for the entire region, but especially for the towns of Derry and Londonderry. Like Pettengill Road, Exit 4A will make possible new development opportunities, including the Woodmont Commons planned unit development. Spanning 629 acres, Woodmont Commons will be a vibrant mixed-use urban village – a town within a town – featuring shopping, dining, entertainment venues, as well as residential, office, educational, and medical facilities.
3. Travelers coming north from Massachusetts and points south on I-93 pass through Greater Derry Londonderry. What are some reasons for people to take a break and spend some time?
This is a great spot to break up a trip, whether for a day, an afternoon, or just an hour or so. For those in a hurry we have great restaurants that are just off the interstate. For those who have a little more time, we have some of the state’s best apple orchards and pick-your-own farms, not to mention standout attractions like the Robert Frost Farm, the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire and Tupelo Music Hall. The greater Derry-Londonderry region also boast the state’s longest section of paved rail trail, which attracts bicyclists and others from surrounding towns and even surrounding states.
4. The area is such a great location for businesses and industry, but it’s also a great place to live. What’s your favorite story about a business inspired by the unique opportunities here?
Back in 2013, Melanie Davis and Carmel Shea were at the end of their bicycle ride on the Derry Rail Trail. Hungry and thirsty, the two friends looked around downtown Derry for some place they might be able to grab a snack and an iced coffee.
And while they saw plenty of great restaurants and lunch spots in downtown Derry, Davis and Shea said they didn’t see any coffee shops, or any other downtown establishments where they would be comfortable entering clad in bike gear and carrying their helmets. So in true entrepreneurial fashion, the two set out to solve the problem they encountered.
Such was the spark for the opening The Grind Rail Trail Cafe, a community-focused, bicycle-themed specialty coffee bar in historic downtown Derry. Today, The Grind is one of the most popular spots in town (and my favorite out-of-office meeting spot).
5. We’ve talked about transportation, commerce and lifestyle. But we need to talk about beer. What’s up with the brew industry?
Yes, we absolutely do need to talk beer. Much to the delight of area residents and those passing through, the towns of Derry and Londonderry boast four – yes, four! – craft breweries and one meadery. And they’re all within a stone’s throw from both one another and Interstate 93. I’m not aware of any other place in the state (or elsewhere for that matter) that has that high of a concentration of breweries so close together. The region also boasts a bevy of other brew-related businesses, from one operating a portable canning line to one specializing in the installation and maintenance of draft beer lines.
February 10th, 2016
NH Economy Director Carmen Lorentz (holding placque), with Office of Workforce Opportunity team Nadine Sacco, left, Michael Power and Jacqueline Heuser
There we were on Friday afternoon, watching the snow fly and finishing up the work week when this arrived: A handsome plaque proclaiming New Hampshire as first in the northeast for state workforce development.
From Site Selection:
“Site Selection’s second annual state workforce development rankings are intended to provide a general sense of which states in a given region are devoting sufficient or superior resources to preparing their workforces for current and future employment.”
If your business is seeking ways to boost your workforce, check out the information on our website and then give us a call.
Division of Economic Development
February 5th, 2016
Part of the growing local movement in the United States is an awareness that people can invest their dollars in ways that positively affect their communities, while also earning a return. Throughout this year, three Granite State institutions−Live Free & Start, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund−are teaming up to present a series of forums called Impact Investing in New Hampshire. We asked one of the presenters, Community Loan Fund VP of Economic Opportunity, John Hamilton, about the series. You can visit the Live Free and Start website to see the schedule and register for one or more of the events.
John Hamilton ~ Community Loan Fund
1. Impact investing will be the topic of a number of forums around the state this year. What is impact investing?
Many people are familiar with “socially responsible investing,” which avoids investments in certain industries or activities that the investor finds objectionable.
Impact investing is a more intentional approach for the investor that seeks to support specific social or environmental outcomes—such as more good jobs in New Hampshire— and earn a financial return.
A common misconception is that impact investing doesn’t provide a positive financial return. However, recent reports and years of investments show that impact investors don’t have to sacrifice earnings.
So we’re excited to partner with Live Free and Start and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation to bring this information to current and prospective investors across New Hampshire. We’re holding six Investing in NH forums in which each of the organizations will present various ways individuals can have a positive impact on the people and businesses of the Granite State through impact investments.
2. How important is this kind of investing to the state’s business ecosystem?
Impact investments can be more flexible, timely and risk-tolerant.
Flexible because impact investments often come from private sources–individuals and foundations–and without a lot of restrictions. They can deliver a range of types of capital (debt, sub debt, royalty and equity).
Timely because these investors can shape their capital to the needs of the business and react more quickly than traditional financing sources.
Risk-tolerant because some impact investors are willing to take greater risk if there is an opportunity for better returns, particularly if the investment would benefit New Hampshire’s people, communities and economy.
3. Can you give an example of where impact investors made a difference in New Hampshire?
In 2013, Rustic Crust, a natural pizza product company based in Pittsfield, needed growth capital to get its product into more grocery stores throughout North America. The Community Loan Fund had made a previous royalty investment and wanted to support this growth, but the company needed more financing than we could provide at the time.
Fortunately, we knew of an individual who was interested in co-investing with us. Together, we provided the needed capital, and Rustic Crust has since nearly doubled its number of full time jobs, while also increasing its part-time workforce.
This is particularly satisfying because a fire destroyed Rustic Crust’s production facility not long afterward. Yet because of strong management and community support, including from the company’s investor, Rustic Crust is thriving.
4. From the outside looking into New Hampshire: Will encouraging this form of investment draw more businesses or start-ups to the state?
We hope that the number and appetite of angel investors here encourage start-ups and businesses looking to relocate. There are definitely investors seeking out those kinds of opportunities.
And inasmuch as a goal of encouraging businesses to relocate or start here is to increase the number of good jobs, that goal aligns perfectly with those of many impact investors.
We know one of the motivations of some impact investors is to keep their money local. They enjoy financing projects they can drive past and feel the “I’m glad I put my money there” glow. There are many strong businesses already in New Hampshire, owned and run by our neighbors and friends, which are ready to grow and only lack the kind of flexible capital I described earlier.
5. Aside from attending one of the forums taking place throughout the state from now until the end of the year, is there a place where people can get more information or speak with someone?
The forums offer a rare chance to share the perspectives, experiences and opportunities offered by three organizations, so we hope that anyone interested in finding out what it means to be an impact investor will attend one of them. You can see the schedule and register here.
The next best option is to visit the web sites of the three participating organizations: Live Free and Start, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. You’ll find a range of local and regional opportunities. That’s a good thing−for the Granite State and for New Hampshire investors.
February 4th, 2016
We launched our monthly newsletter on Monday and the plan is to put it out on the first of every month. It will be jam packed with news about economic development in New Hampshire, who’s who and what’s what that keeps the Granite State economy humming.
Subscribing is easy: Click here.
You don’t have to wait from month to month to keep up with us … we’re on the popular social media channels and invite you to follow along:
Facebook – NH Economy
Facebook – Office of International Commerce
Twitter – NH Economy
Twitter – Office of International Commerce
NH Business Matters blog
Yes, we’re connected with the web, but we’re also connected by that time-honored instrument, the telephone. You call, we answer: 603-271-2341.
Division of Economic Development
January 29th, 2016
Portsmouth, home to a deep water port, has centuries-long experience in dealing with ships and commerce, making it one of the oldest working ports in the country. The Port of New Hampshire is tremendous asset for many industries, including Granite State companies sending their products to markets around the world.
Today, we’re meeting Geno Marconi, director of the New Hampshire Division of Ports and Harbors.
Geno Marconi ~ NH Division of Ports and Harbors
1. The Port of New Hampshire is the Granite State’s ‘Gateway to the World.’ How much cargo flows through the port annually?
The port as a whole handles about four million tons of cargo annually. This includes the seven terminals on the river that have 16 businesses utilizing them. According to The Economic Impact of the Piscataqua River and the Ports of Portsmouth and Newington study, 987 jobs paying $90.2 million in wages and benefits were directly employed by those 16 businesses (not including Portsmouth Naval Shipyard – ed.). Regionally, port-related activities include 2,357 jobs (2,078 in NH and 280 in Maine) paying $156 million in income, with $274.5 million in value added. In addition, $25 million in state and local taxes are generated as a result of these activities.
2. Part of the mission of the Division of Ports and Harbors is to stimulate the economy and create jobs. How does it do that on a day-to-day basis?
The Port Authority is involved in several different aspects:
- We operate the state-owned Market Street Marine Terminal, the state’s only public access general cargo terminal, and we provide the opportunity to businesses that want to move merchandise in and out of the area. The terminal also supports activities at all the other terminals, including the Port’s Naval Shipyard. Materials and equipment for those other facilities are often transloaded from here;
- We operate the commercial fish piers in Portsmouth, Rye and Hampton, providing a platform to the fishing industry. Additionally there are charter fishing, whale watch, and tour vessels that operate from our facilities in Portsmouth, Rye and Hampton;
- We oversee the dredging of the harbors and channels in order to keep commerce moving. We are now partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers in a $23 million project to expand the uppermost turning basin of the Piscataqua River.
3. What are the advantages of using the Port of New Hampshire for freight shipments?
It all depends on the cargo and tee destination. Each cargo opportunity receives personalized attention depending on the needs. For example: An oversized piece of equipment that may be on a ship bound for NY with a final destination in Bedford, NH, would have great difficulty getting over-the-road permits through some states. Many times we have put these types of cargo onto a barge and brought them here at the state pier.
4. NH also has five Foreign Trade Zone sites and two subzones, and the DPH serves as the FTZ grantee. How do these FTZs benefit the New Hampshire economy?
Simple answer: The companies would go someplace else if we didn’t have them. (An FTZ offers tariff and tax relief to New Hampshire exporters, which lowers their costs and increases employment, capital investment and revenue opportunities. FTZs are supervised by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of Homeland Security. -ed.).
5. Is there anything new or exciting happening with the port and its operations, or projects happening in the coming months?
The exciting projects are the Sarah Long Bridge (to straighten the navigation channel, which will allow larger ships to access the port; and to increase the vertical clearance, allowing taller ships to pass and reduce bridge openings) and the Turning Basin, also to allow larger ships to access the port, both long overdue navigation safety and improvement projects. Once these are done, we are looking at attracting new cargo here at the Port Terminal.
January 22nd, 2016
New Name, Same Agency
The name was a mouthful – New Hampshire Procurement Technical Assistance Program.
You may have known it in its abbreviated form: NH PTAP. And if you didn’t know what ‘procurement technical assistance’ meant and were afraid to ask, fear no more.
NH PTAP has always been about government contracting and helping New Hampshire businesses navigate the process to bring Uncle Sam on board as a customer. The name, though, sort of said that, but it didn’t.
So, as of Jan. 1., we’ve changed our name to the NH Government Contracting Assistance Center. The new name gets straight to the work of our agency.
Only the name has changed. Our services are still free to New Hampshire businesses and the same award winning staff is ready to help you bid on – and win – contracts from the federal government.
We’ll call ourselves ‘government contracting’ for short — no abbreviation.
The alphabet is happy to get some of its letters back and we’re happy that our new name leaves no one guessing what we do.
NH Government Contract Assistance Center
January 22nd, 2016
Now in its 25th year, the New Hampshire Innovation Research Center is the bridge connecting collaborations between industry and the University of New Hampshire. Since it was created by an act of the Legislature in 1991, the NHIRC has awarded more than $6 million in state funds to support research projects and has been responsible for the creation or retention of 650 jobs. Marc Sedam, Associate Vice Provost for Innovation and New Ventures, talks about center.
Marc Sedam ~ NHIRC
1. Part of the mission of the New Hampshire Innovation Research Center is to attract new business to New Hampshire. What does that look like on a day-to-day basis?
The NHIRC is funded directly by the state to promote university-industry collaborations based on industry need. We have 1-2 funding cycles each year.
2. Can you share some of the latest product and process innovations to come out of an NHIRC collaboration?
The IRC recently funded research on the interoperability of medical devices and the ‘big data’ of medicine, as well as research aimed at improving the electrical conductivity of carbon nanotube wire, to the point where it can replace copper for power applications.
3. Companies can get assistance with their proposals to NHIRC from university researchers. How does the process work?
Companies applying to the NHIRC need to have a partner that is a New Hampshire college or university. So the assistance piece is usually a research strength that the University has or can help with, that extends the capacity of the company’s efforts. Companies either come to the program with a university/college partner already identified, or can come to us needing a partner and we can do matchmaking.
4. From a personal perspective, what drives you in your work? What things about NHIRC make you excited every day?
I always get excited about universities and industry working together. When the RFPs come out, I enjoy seeing what New Hampshire businesses are up to and where their research might take them in the future. University-industry collaborations drive economic strategy in most areas of the US and it would be great to see more of that in New Hampshire.
5. What does NHIRC have on the horizon that’s particularly exciting or, well, innovative?
We’ve begun providing Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer education and training that has been well received. New Hampshire has under performed relative to the states around us in acquiring SBIR/STTR funding in the past, so we’re glad to see there’s real interest in this work.
January 21st, 2016
Carmen Lorentz and Peter Colbath
New Hampshire Business Matters hits the airwaves at 3 pm (-ish) every third Wednesday of the month on WTPL-FM 107.7. We’re part of Ken Cail’s Cail & Co. afternoon show.
Each month, Division of Economic Development Director Carmen Lorentz explores news and trends of interest to New Hampshire businesses.
Yesterday, with guest Peter Colbath of the Department of Revenue Administration, the topic was taxes. (Who’s not interested in tax news, especially when two business taxes are going down?)
Of particular interest to businesses is the looming deadline (Feb. 15) for tax amnesty. We have the details here and it’s worth a listen, brought to you in a convenient podcast format.
Division of Economic Development
January 8th, 2016
We talk about international trade a lot on this blog, letting our businesses throughout the state know about the opportunities to be had overseas. Global markets likely need products and services made right here in New Hampshire – they just need to know where to find them. Our Office of International Trade works diligently to introduce businesses to these markets through its many partnerships. James Demers answers this week’s 5 Questions about one of those organizations.
1. Can you explain a bit about what the International Trade Advisory Committee does for the state and your role within it?
The International Trade Advisory Committee is a committee authorized by law with the primary mission of assisting the Department of Resources and Economic Development and the state’s Office of International Commerce in promoting and increasing international trade for New Hampshire businesses.
Legislative leaders have recognized that opportunities exist for New Hampshire businesses to participate in the world economy and they have actually tasked DRED with developing resources to assist companies in this area. So, ITAC is one element that brings a group together with experience and interest in international trade to assist with these goals.
2. You’ve been involved in the field of international trade for many years, even serving on the board of directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corp. What can you tell us about the opportunities for New Hampshire in the export market?
It is an honor to serve as chairman of New Hampshire’s International Trade Advisory Committee as well as having been appointed by President Obama to serve on the board of the Overseas Private Investment Corp., which is the federal government’s development financial institution.
Many people think that international trade and business opportunities in developing countries are solely for very large corporations, but one of the things I have learned from both organizations is there are tremendous international opportunities for small businesses too.
The key point is businesses need to think a bit outside of the box. If they have a product or service that works well here in New Hampshire or in the United States, it is likely there are other places that could use it too. As a matter of fact, in many cases there are foreign markets that lag the United States and need many products we take for granted here.
Companies, big and small, that are looking to grow should think about potential opportunities in other countries. And that is where the state’s Office of International Commerce can help. Small businesses rarely have the expertise to figure out how to proceed in getting into another country, or even determining where opportunities might exist. People need to recognize the state has a division that can assist them.
3. Are there industries in New Hampshire that may not be thought of as exporters, but could discover tremendous opportunity for their businesses if they pursued an export strategy?
Absolutely. The one that comes to mind is in the healthcare delivery system. During Governor Hassan’s trade mission to Turkey, I met with a businessman in Istanbul who owns a cancer treatment hospital in Turkey. He told me that they have several missing elements of cancer healthcare, most notably hospice and palliative care facilities. That made me realize there is a significant need for hospice services that could be delivered by American entities that know how to deliver this aspect of service.
4. What are the biggest challenges to New Hampshire exporters right now, and what is ITAC doing to help solve them?
One of the challenges is actually finding foreign business markets and making contacts in countries that might help develop export opportunities. That is where the state’s Office of International Commerce can help. Businesses should not hesitate reaching out to the OIC for assistance.
5. What’s coming up for ITAC that’s new and exciting?
Earlier this year, the legislature amended the ITAC law, adding additional members who will bring more expertise in the area of international trade. We have always had support from federal agencies like the Commerce Department and Small Business Administration, but the law change also adds representatives from the state’s four-member congressional delegation, which hopefully will help coordinate even stronger collaboration between state and federal trade agencies. This should help bring even more resources and information for New Hampshire businesses looking to enter foreign markets.