Kermit the Frog once lamented, in song, how it’s not easy to be green. In the 21st century (and far away from the swamp), being green is an important factor in our lives, a touchstone for energy efficiency, decreasing our impact on the enviroment and saving resources.
And now it’s much easier to be green because of the businesses and services to help us. Every summer, we like to bring together our green folks and give them a venue to spread the word, or the green.
This year, we celebrate Greenerpalooza V. As in five years of hosting this great event at the Meadowbrook US Cellular Pavilion, which itself is green, and provides a fun backdrop to a serious topic.
This year’s event will feature legendary guitarist and humanitarian Carlos Santana at the annual event on July 18.
The highlight of Greenerpalooza is the eco-village at the pavilion, where dozens of green businesses and agencies can display their products, services and inventions.
Space is available for this year’s event and a capacity crowd is expected for Santana, a potential audience of over 5,000 people.
A 10×10-foot booth is $200; a 10×20-foot booth is $300 and includes promotional space; inclusion in the Brookbeat email, with over 70,000 subscribers, and the opportunity to see the Santana performance.
Santana is a natural fit for the fifth annual Greenerpalooza. For the past two years, he has partnered with Project Sole, which distributes shoes to people who need them.
“By thinking about recycling and conservation in ways beyond paper and plastic materials, we move toward a planet that is healthier for everyone,” he said. “I am inspired to now find more ways to recycle and I hope that others will be too.”
About 80 people turned out for dinner and a talk about taxes … specifically the lack of thereof … just a short hop from northern New Hampshire. This is a place where there is room for Quebec companies to expand into the U.S. and a skilled and enthusiastic workforce to help them do it successfully.
This is not the first time we’ve done this. Every other year or so, with sponsorship from Public Service of New Hampshire, we visit places like Drummondville, Quebec City and Sherbrooke (this was our second visit) and talk about impôts to a country that knows them well.
That’s taxes. We talk to them about New Hampshire’s lack of them. When we got to the part about aucune taxe de vente, they couldn’t believe we don’t have a sales tax here. There was an audible gasp and buzz, like we were kidding.
We weren’t and we aren’t.
As Beno Lamontagne, our business resource specialist in Carroll, Grafton and Coos Counties, said Thursday night, dinner for 80 this week was the easy part.
Next week, next month, next year and maybe years from now, the possibilities we talked about the night before last will, like a seed, bloom, prosper and grow.
Division of Economic Development
We just spent a whirlwind two days in Boston, representing New Hampshire biotech sector at the BIO International Convention, which is being held throughout this week at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Billed as the world’s largest biotechnology event, organizers say more than 15,000 people from 48 states and 65 countries will pass through the doors, taking advantage of the opportunity to talk with peers, researchers, industry leaders and others about the latest and emerging developments.
Commissioner Bald talks about the advantages of doing business in New Hampshire with people attending the BIO International Convention in Boston this week.
With that many people on our doorstep, it’s a good time for networking and with the sponsorship of Public Service of New Hampshire, we hosted a reception for about 50 people Monday night, who represent out-of-state biotech companies. It was a chance to meet people in a sector we’d like to see grow even stronger and even get to thinking about expanding or relocating to the Granite State.
“It’s a chance to plant seeds with these companies who, in the future, may want to come here,” said Cindy Harrington, one of the state’s business recruiters.
Because it has happened before and joining the reception to talk about the how and why they moved their businesses to New Hampshire were Bill Skelley of Skelley Medical; Jake Reder of Celdara Medical and Bill Piombino of Lonza Biologics.
The guests came from around the country and more often than not, they had a story, a memory or an in-law about New Hampshire. One was introduced to the state by a long-ago girlfriend; another attended a conference on Lake Sunapee and still another wistfully promised to return one day to ski at Waterville Valley. Couple sentiment with all the Granite State has going for it these days and one day down the road, we’ll be talking to them again.
This morning, we spent several hours at the New Hampshire booth at the conference, where the team, including PSNH folks and Paula Newton, president of the New Hampshire Biomedical Council, fielded questions about everything from the tax climate and advantages to biotech to people just stopping by for a Granite State fix.
“It’s an absolutely fabulous event for the biotech sector,” said Christopher Way, interim director of the Division of Economic Development.
And so it was this morning at the Merrimack Premium Outlets, with the ribbon cutting and opening of 80 outlet stores.
It was a very festive time and the early bird shoppers were enthusiastic in both their appointed rounds and in their praise for the project, which brings to New Hampshire some high end fashion not available anywhere else. While there were deals to be had for the big event, it was good to see people pulling out their wallets and feeling confident enough to make a few purchases, like the three women from Derry who found the bargains they were looking for early in their shopping excursion.
More than that, it was good to see hundreds of people on retail’s front lines. We saw college students, moms, grandparents and others eagerly waiting to greet the first customers and being at work. We eavesdropped on a pep talk over at the Nike store and then the employees, dressed in orange and black, walked around the shops, clapping. And laughing.
Congratulations to Merrimack for being the site of this new outlet center, which is projected to attract more than 5 million visitors per year and employ more than 1,000. It will be a place close to home to find a special dress (or shoes), to window shop, or just be three gals from Derry or any other town, getting together, laughing, talking and having fun.
The same report concluded that nationwide, 90 percent of all women-owned firms have no employees, other than themselves. In New Hampshire, there are an estimated 37,700 women-owned firms, employing 37,800.
So it is easy for business women to get caught up in their work and responsibilities, deferring opportunities to network and even talk shop with other women just like them.
Ladies, take a moment and get out your calendar. Put an X on June 22 and sign up for the Women Inspiring Women conference in Bedford. Our friend, Leslie Sturgeon, has put together a great program that will be informative … and inspiring.
The global market for aerospace and defense industry products made right here in New Hampshire is heating up.
At the same time, the state’s Office of International Commerce has a key ingredient for businesses looking to take advantage of overseas opportunities – grants to help them make that leap.
Investing some time and using the funding to check out what the world has to offer can have these businesses flying high and landing products around the globe.
The OIC received a State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant that can help small and medium sized companies serving the aerospace and defense sectors cover the cost of market research overseas. For eligible companies, these grants, provided in partnership with US Commercial Services, can save up to $700, as they begin the process of marketing their product in foreign markets and screening the responses.
“We know there is an intimidation factor,” said Tina Kasim, program manager for the OIC. “We know that some of the regulatory aspects for many exports are a barrier for companies. But now is the time for many of them to jump into the overseas market and there is financial help available to make that happen.”
In 2011, aerospace components were the ninth largest commodity exported from New Hampshire to countries around the world. Trade missions from China, Turkey and Taiwan to the Granite State in the past month illustrate the interest there is in products made here.
“They look here, specifically, for US-made products and they know that New Hampshire is on the leading edge of new technology,” Kasim said.
The assistance available, and underwritten by the STEP grant, provides individualized research on the markets where a company’s product is in demand.
“We have the money for market research specifically for aerospace and defense,” she said. “This STEP grant for these sectors does the initial ground work for the companies, like determining whether certain countries have the right market for those components and products, what the competition looks like and a look at local regulations there and how it affects companies here.”
Despite a soft global economy over the past year, New Hampshire companies that export have been doing well.
“During our economic downturn, companies and manufacturers looked overseas to secure and diversify their markets,” Kasim said. “In many cases, this enabled them to retain their workforce, if not create more jobs right here at home.”