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Archive for March, 2011

Getting Sideways With Team O’Neil and Verena Mai

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The latest New Hampshire Business Underground segment features Team O’Neil Rally School and Car Control Center in Dalton, NH. Not only are they the premier rally training center in North America, they also have a passion for teaching everyday drivers how to handle their cars in difficult conditions. In fact, owner Tim O’Neil is revolutionizing driver’s education and training in his own unique way:

You’ll also learn about Tim’s approach to training, and hear from one of his current students: Verena Mai, the top female drift racer in the US, who’s also appeared in the Fast and the Furious and Rush Hour movie franchises. She came to Dalton to expand her craft and become a champion rally racer, and in the second half of the segment, she shares some of her background and what she’s learning right now.

CCS New England Relocates from MA to NH

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
State Business Development Manager Michael Bergeron joins CCS New England President Cheryl Gamst and CCS Vice President Chris Gamst in celebrating the firm’s relocation to New Hampshire.

State Business Development Manager Michael Bergeron joins CCS New England President Cheryl Gamst and CCS Vice President Chris Gamst in celebrating the firm’s relocation to New Hampshire.

The recent relocation of a Massachusetts company to the Gate City is music to the State business recruitment team’s ears and a sight for sore eyes. 

CCS New England, one of the largest audio and visual equipment integrators in the U.S., recently relocated from the Bay State to 132 Northeastern Boulevard in Nashua, where they purchased a 26,500 square foot industrial building and brought 22 new jobs to the state. Michael Bergeron, Business Development Manager for the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, assisted in the relocation and ERZ tax credits application. 

“We have found that New Hampshire is a business friendly state and a perfect fit for a small business like ours,” said CCS New England President Cheryl Gamst. Founded in 1998 by Cheryl and Chris Gamst, CCS has been named “Top 50 Woman Owned Business,” “Top Diversity Owned Business” and “Top 50 Privately Held Business.” 

“I have seen a strong interest from small like companies like CCS New England looking to expand to New Hampshire”, said Bergeron. “With our favorable business atmosphere and incredible quality of life, the Granite State certainly has a compelling story to tell.” 

CCS provides full service sales, design, integration, installation and maintenance of audio and video equipment including interactive whiteboards, classroom response systems, projectors, LCD and plasma displays, Video Conferencing Systems, Digital Signage, audio systems, document cameras and energy management systems.  For more information, call Chris and Cheryl Gamst at (978) 256-2001 or visit www.ccsprojects.com.

NH Tourism Summit Projected to have $1.2M Economic Impact

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

New Hampshire tourism officials announced today that nearly 80 international tour operators and 300 representatives from New England hotels, resorts, attractions and destinations will be arriving over the weekend to attend Discover New England’s 2011 Summit at the Omni Mt. Washington Resort. The summit is projected to have a positive economic impact of $1.2 million on the state.

nh-tourism“Hosting this first class event will bring short and long term benefits to the New Hampshire travel industry, as well as the New England region,” said Lori Harnois, director of the Division of Travel and Tourism Development (DTTD).  “With conference rooms, extra meals and spending from close to 400 people, our industry experts project a very positive economic impact to New Hampshire of more than $1.2 million.  However, the longer term benefit of increasing our numbers of international travelers to New England is equally important.” 

According to Harnois, approximately 1.6 million overseas travelers come to the region each year.  This conference is an opportunity to showcase all that New England can offer to international travelers looking to explore and experience a vacation here.
The annual summit rotates among the six New England states, and this is the first time since 2005 that the event has been held in New Hampshire. The conference runs Monday April 4th – Wednesday April 6th.

“Discover New England works to increase visitation into the New England region primarily by working closely with international tour operators and U.S-based receptive operators who either have established itineraries in New England or are looking to introduce new programs,” said Sue Norrington-Davies, managing director of Discover New England. “This is the largest travel conference we’ve hosted in New England, and it will represent an extraordinary opportunity to develop business with tour operators and showcase the region.”

Workshops and one-on-one business meetings with international tour operators and receptive operators will take place throughout the conference, as well as presentations by tourism professionals.

Media interested in attending the conference or looking for more information or interviews can contact Tai Freligh, Communications Manager, DTTD at (603) 271-2343, #2;  tai.freligh@dred.state.nh.us.; or Deb Daigle, Media Relations, Montagne Communications, (603) 644-3200 x12; ddaigle@montagnecom.com . The “How to Summit” workshop on Monday, April 4th from 1 – 2 PM is recommended for first time attendees.

Economic Importance of New Hampshire’s Forests Publication Released

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

New Hampshire’s Interim State Forester, Brad Simpkins, announced the release of “The Economic Importance of New Hampshire’s Forest-Based Economy”, a report which summarizes everything from the percent of forests covering the state (84%) to the $2.26 billion impact the forest-based industry has on New Hampshire’s economy. 

forests“Many folks are surprised to learn that we have such a vibrant forest industry in New Hampshire or that 76% of the state’s forests are privately owned, ” said Simpkins. “The state, through the Department of Resources and Economic Development, Division of Forests and Lands is also actively managing its forests and contributing timber to the markets.”  

“This is the go-to source for information on the state’s forests and forest industry,” said Jason Stock, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association. “New Hampshire’s forest industry is an economic powerhouse supporting close to 20,000 jobs across the state,” said Stock.

New Hampshire has approximately fifty sawmills operating in the state and seven wood-fired power plants, that combined provide over 150 MW of generation capacity. Five of the power plants have been in near-continuous operation for over 20 years, providing New Hampshire residents with renewable power from the state’s forests. 

Key findings from this report include:

The economic value of forest-based components to the State’s economy is $2.259 billion annually, or almost 4% of the Gross State Product.
The combined payroll of forest-based jobs is $608 million.

Forest landowners received over $30 million from the sale of timber in 2009, with $3 million going back to communities in the form of timber tax.

Every 1,000 acres of New Hampshire forest supports 1.7 forest-based manufacturing jobs and 2.4 forest-based recreation and tourism jobs.

The publication also provides an analysis of several additional topics, such as a description of the forest resource, wood flows, growth and harvest data, and wood energy. 

The report was produced by the Northeast State Forester’s Association (NEFA) with a grant from Northeast Utilities.  The “Economic Importance of New Hampshire’s Forest-Based Economy” is available electronically on NEFA’s website, www.nefainfo.org and from the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands website at www.nhdfl.org, or by calling the NH State Forester’s office, (603)271-2214.

Ask CJ – Is “Factoring” Right for Your Business?

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Question: My small business is growing, and I may be seeing a dramatic rise in orders soon, which is great. However, I don’t have the cash available to purchase the materials for large orders. Is “factoring” something I should consider?

Factoring is a special type of financing that can be a good option for the right business in the right circumstances. So, what is that business and what are the circumstances?

NH Business Resource Center Seacoast Business Resource Specialist Christine Davis

NH Business Resource Center Seacoast Business Resource Specialist Christine Davis

First of all, I should give a brief explanation of factoring for those that may not be familiar. Having a master’s degree in French, I decided it would be best that I go to Wikipedia as opposed to relying on my interpretation of this financial tool. “Factoring is a financial transaction whereby a business job sells its accounts receivable (i.e. invoices) to a third party (called a factor) at a discount in exchange for immediate money with which to finance continued business. Factoring differs from a bank loan in three main ways. First, the emphasis is on the value of the receivables (essentially a financial asset), not the firm’s credit worthiness. Secondly, factoring is not a loan — it is the purchase of a financial asset (the receivable). Finally, a bank loan involves two parties whereas factoring involves three.”

Yup, much better explanation than I could have done.

I also reached out to Darlene Friedman, a certified public accountant and owner of The Interface Financial Group, which specializes in factoring (commonly referred to as invoice discounting but not exactly the same thing). Friedman typically works with companies that are growing but don’t meet the requirements for a traditional bank loan or line of credit. The rates vary depending on when the account debtor pays IFG. The invoices her company would buy are strictly commercial, and she recommends that a company looking to sell invoices to generate cash has around a 30 percent margin in order to still retain some profit after paying the fee associated with the factoring service.

Friedman’s clients often sell her their invoices when they need cash for supplies or overhead such as payroll. She doesn’t recommend this type of business financing for someone looking to buy equipment or real estate. A company that is struggling and simply looking for an infusion of cash to keep their doors open is also not a good candidate for this service.

Funding your business at its various stages can be challenging and even a bit scary. Whether you have tapped into your savings, credit cards, family, investors, bank or other business financing institution, you have taken a risk. Taking risks (and by that I mean educated, well-thought out risks) is all part of being an entrepreneur. It may mean you work a heck of a lot more than you thought you would, make less money in the short term and perhaps even lose a few dollars and a few hours of sleep along the way, but it really can be the best decision you ever made.

Whether you have been in business for 20 years or just getting started, we have the resources and the expertise to answer your questions. You can e-mail me at Christine.Davis@dred.state.nh.us. I look forward to hearing from you.

Economic Development Group Offers Free Video Services to Companies Affected by Japan Crisis

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

The Coastal Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), in partnership with the NH Business Finance Authority; the NH Community Development Finance Authority and the NH Division of  Economic Development has announced that it will offer free use of the Coastal Video Conference Center, located in Hampton, NH, to any New Hampshire business affected by the crisis in Japan.

video-conferenceIn announcing this service, Daniel Gray, CEDC’s Managing Director noted that, “Japan is NH’s 10th most active export partner. In 2009, for example, New Hampshire businesses exported $179 million in goods and services to Japan.  That’s a fairly significant piece of our State’s economic puzzle”.

The US Government has issued a statement that strongly urges U.S. citizens to defer travel to Japan at this time and urges that those in Japan should consider departing.

The Coastal Video Conference Center is a state-of-the-art telepresence system that offers high definition, multi-point video conferencing capabilities.  The dual screen system offers a platform that can connect up to six (6) locations simultaneously, with the ability to share content and presentations.  CEDC opened the Center in 2010.

“Video conferencing is becoming a trend under normal business circumstances”, said Gray.  “It’s a very economical, time-effective, and environmentally friendly way to arrange long distance meetings.  But, with the crisis in Japan, and with the resulting travel restrictions, video conferencing could just be the only way some New Hampshire businesses can replace those face-to-face meetings that absolutely need to take place.  While the two participants might not be in the same room, with the technology we are offering, they may as well be”.

The NH Business Finance Authority, the NH Community Development Finance Authority and the NH Division of Economic Development, have teamed together to provide grant funding and support to allow CEDC to offer the Center to affected businesses for free.

“New Hampshire is fortunate to have these forward-thinking agencies.  They came together quickly to address an unforeseen economic development problem, and their support will give New Hampshire businesses a tool to overcome challenges associated with this terrible tragedy.”, said Gray.

Companies interested in learning more about this new program should contact Coastal Economic Development Corporation at 603-929-9244 or videoinfo@coastaledc.org

Manufacturing/High Tech Driving State’s Economy

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

The smart manufacturing/high technology (SMHT) sector is New Hampshire’s economic engine, bringing more wealth into New Hampshire than any other sector-including tourism and retail-according to a recent New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies report sponsored by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire (BIA), in collaboration with the New Hampshire High Technology Council (NHHTC) and several BIA members. Results of the study also show that New Hampshire’s business costs are high relative to other states and countries with which the state competes for SMHT companies and employment. 

According to the center’s study, in 2009 the SMHT sector, which includes 3,700 companies in New Hampshire employing almost 80,000 people, paid out $6.4 billion in wages and benefits, making it the largest single sector of New Hampshire’s economy (19 percent). The next largest sector is government and government enterprises (15 percent), followed by healthcare and social assistance (14 percent). 

manufacturing-study“As important as other sectors are, there is no question that the smart manufacturing/high technology sector drives New Hampshire’s economy and is absolutely critical to the state’s long-term economic prosperity,” said BIA President Jim Roche. “SMHT companies generate more wealth for New Hampshire, pay more in compensation to employees, export more and pay more in state taxes than any other sector.” 

Economic Impact

SMHT is defined as manufacturers engaged in the transformation of materials into new products using advanced technology and skilled labor, as well as high technology companies engaged in software publishing, computer systems design and scientific research. 

Paying an average wage of $1,200 per week, which is 40 percent higher than the average weekly wage for all private sector employees working in New Hampshire, SMHT companies account for 9 percent of New Hampshire’s private sector employers, but they employ more than 15 percent of New Hampshire’s private sector workers. 

According to the report’s author, Dennis Delay, an economist with the center, SMHT employers are an important source of high-wage jobs for New Hampshire workers. “The average compensation per SMHT employee has exceeded average wages and benefits paid in every other industry sector, including construction, healthcare, education, retail trade and even financial services. This is important to note because it demonstrates that New Hampshire’s affluence, high standard of living and quality of life are in large part attributable to the state’s SMHT sector.” 

Exports Generate Wealth

Manufacturing is New Hampshire’s most important export industry. Exports from the state’s manufacturers directly support more than 77,000 jobs, compared to about 52,000 jobs in travel and tourism. New Hampshire imports four times as much wealth from in-state manufacturing facilities as from tourism – manufacturing supports $18.5 billion in GSP while tourism supports $4.2 billion. Notably, in FY2008 manufacturing companies represented 8 percent of the companies paying business profits and business enterprise taxes; however, those same companies accounted for 23 percent of total business tax revenue. 

The Value of an SMHT Job

Economic modeling shows that for every 100 new manufacturing jobs, the state would see an additional 138 indirect and induced jobs, which would generate $11 million in earnings, $18 million in gross domestic product, and $1.2 million in state and local tax revenue. Compare this to healthcare (55 indirect and induced jobs per 100 new jobs) and tourism (32 indirect and induced per 100 new jobs) and one can see the value of investing in New Hampshire’s SMHT sector. 

New Hampshire High Technology Council President Fred Kocher agrees. “One of the most important findings in our study is that SMHT employers are the largest source of high-wage jobs for New Hampshire. That one fact has implications for the public policies we enact, the workforce development we undertake, the education we promote and the collaborations we forge on job-related issues facing the SMHT sector. The state’s economic health depends on it.” 

Competitiveness and the Future of SMHT in New Hampshire

The center’s study also compared New Hampshire’s cost of doing business relative to top competitor states and countries, including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Mexico, India, China and Malaysia. Among the findings:

Wages in New Hampshire are slightly higher than in competitor states and dramatically higher than in competitor countries

Healthcare costs are higher in New Hampshire than in most states and 10 times higher than in the nearest competitor country

Electric rates in New Hampshire are almost twice as high as in competitor states and about even with Mexico and China

New Hampshire’s corporate income tax rate is highest among the state’s competitors and highest compared to competitor countries when the U.S. corporate tax rate is included

BIA and NHHTC Recommendations for Promoting SMHT in New Hampshire

As a companion to the study, the BIA and NHHTC released a set of recommendations to policy makers to promote smart manufacturing/high technology growth in New Hampshire. Roche of the BIA and Kocher of the NHHTC feel that the future of New Hampshire’s SMHT sector depends upon policy makers’ willingness to embrace policies and initiatives that will spur growth and innovation in this economic sector. 

Among BIA and NHHTC recommendations are:

Work to lower healthcare costs by opposing new or expanded healthcare benefit mandates and supporting adequate Medicaid reimbursements to healthcare providers

Lower the business profits and business enterprise taxes, increase the R&D tax credit, improve net operating loss and BET credit carry-forward provisions, and adopt single sales factor BPT apportionment

Improve New Hampshire’s labor and environmental regulatory environment

Work to lower energy costs by supporting policies that promote energy efficiency, preserve dedicated funds for business energy needs, leverage regional strengths and help ratepayers access competitive supply options

Support policies and initiatives aimed at developing and maintaining an educated, skilled workforce in New Hampshire and that ensure businesses have access to talent and resources 

“We realize these recommendations will not be embraced or implemented by lawmakers overnight, especially given the state’s dire fiscal condition,” said Roche. “Nonetheless, we believe these are attainable goals-goals we will be working toward for the next several years.”

The complete SMHT study may be viewed on the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies’ Web site at http://www.nhpolicy.org/reports/smrtmfgfinal.pdf. The recommendations to legislators for promoting SMHT growth in New Hampshire may be viewed on the BIA’s Web site at http://bianhassoc.weblinkconnect.com/cwt/external/wcpages/newsroom/SMHT_Report.aspx.

Applications for Lean & Green Competition Open

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Business NH Magazine is now accepting applications for the fourth annual Lean & Green competition, which celebrates environmental practices NH companies have undertaken to be more environmentally sound and cost-efficient. Winners will be featured in the 2011 Green Guide, appearing in the August issue. A celebration of the winners will also take place in September.

Lean&Green10LogoIf your company has innovative environmental practices, used green building practices in your facility or developed products that help companies become more environmentally-friendly and fiscally sound, let us know about it! You could be among the companies selected to receive statewide recognition for your eco-efforts.

Past winners include The Mount Washington Cog Railway in Bretton Woods, the Hanover Consumer Coop in Hanover, Acorn Organic Salon in Dover, Wire Belt Company of America in Londonderry and Monadnock Paper Mills in Bennington.

The deadline to apply is April 22. Applications will be accepted online only
and can be found at www.businessnhmagazine.com and by clicking on the competitions
button. Please contact Associate Editor Erika Cohen at 603-626-6354 or ecohen@businessnhmagazine.com if you have any questions.

Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics Named Regional Finalist by U.S. Chamber

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Citing the company’s innovation and perseverance, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today named Manchester, NH-based Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics as one of the seven regional finalists for the 2011 DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award sponsored by Sam’s Club®.

dream-bigAccording to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, these seven small businesses are recognized for their innovative business practices and their role in reenergizing our nation’s economy. 

“Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics has turned a dream into a reality through hard work and perseverance,” said Thomas J. Donohue, the U.S. Chamber’s president and CEO.  “It is a true leader in our economic recovery, and today we honor Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics employees, and an American dream that is alive and stronger than ever.”

One finalist will be announced at America’s Small Business Summit, May 23–25, in Washington, D.C. as the DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award winner on May 24th and will receive a $10,000 cash prize, courtesy of the U.S. Chamber.

 “We are truly honored to be recognized with such a prestigious award and are thrilled to be able to represent the entire Eastern region in May to promote the good work of all small businesses in the region,” said Next Step President and CPO Matt Albuquerque. “This award is testament to the hard work of our dedicated staff and the importance of our mission – to consistently innovate so that our clients may lead happier, active and more fulfilled lives.”

A privately held company headquartered in Manchester, NH with offices in Newton, MA and Warwick, RI, Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics provides orthotic and prosthetic devices to clients of all ages – from pediatric to geriatric. The company is practitioner owned and operated, and some staff members are amputees themselves. Known for their innovation, Next Step prosthetists and clinicians work with research facilities and prosthetic manufacturers in developing new prosthetic technologies and components.

Next Step Orthotics & Prosthetics was selected from a record number of nationwide applicants this year and will be honored at America’s Small Business Summit 2011 from May 23-25 in Washington, D.C.  The company has already been awarded a Blue Ribbon Small Business Award from the U.S. Chamber and is still in the running for the U.S. Chamber’s Community Excellence Award, which is to be decided by online public voting that ended March 11th.  That winner will be announced at the Summit. The U.S. Chamber’s awards program is designed to honor the nation’s job creators and recognize their significant contributions as drivers of economic growth.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors and regions as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

UltraSource Named March “Innovation Rocks!” Award Winner

Friday, March 18th, 2011

In technology-based markets, time isn’t just money; it’s the enemy. The speed with which a product gets to market can significantly impact its long-term profitability and viability, especially when you’re talking about next-gen commercial wireless, fiber optic telecommunications and military radio frequency/microwave products. The faster a company can develop the needed components—such as the microchips that are an integral part of these products—the sooner the product can reach the market.

ultrasourceRecognizing that fact, the New Hampshire Business Resource Center has recognized Hollis-based UltraSource with its “Innovation Rocks!” award for the month of March.
Thanks to UltraSource’s innovative new UltraFAST program, no longer will companies have to wait weeks for critical prototypes of ceramic microchips. With UltraFAST, companies can receive prototype microchips in as four to seven days. The process not only cuts a product’s time to market; since the client company can rapidly move from initial prototype to finished design, the long-term repeatability and integrity of the designs is ensured.

UltraSource has devoted an entire team to the creation to the task of creating and implementing this streamlined manufacturing approach. A merchant fabricator, UltraSource makes chips for use in high tech electronic and optical applications including military communications, fiber optic transmission, infrared detection, automotive radar, and specialty medical devices. The company has been so successful at creating prototypes that it is often awarded the contract to manufacture the finished design.

“UltraFAST shows how a 20-year-old company examined its process and came up with a whole new way of doing business that meets the needs of its market,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy. “As a result, UltraSource is aggressively seeking new employees so that it can expand to meet the needs of its clients. That’s good new for UltraSource and for New Hampshire.”

For more information about UltraSource, visit www.ultrasource.com.  

“Innovation Rocks!” is an initiative sponsored by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s Business Resource Center in coordination with Rock 101 (WGIR-FM) and the The Pavilion at the Hilton Garden Inn Manchester Downtown to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of New Hampshire innovators.