Down on Elm Street in Manchester this morning, there was a pause in the bustle for a celebration of new beginnings.
The abi Hub marked the opening of its new downtown location, right in the heart of New Hampshire’s largest city.
In its past incarnation, this space was the former McQuade’s Department Store, so it has wonderfully wide windows – windows with a view of the street busy with trade and traffic, but, more importantly, a window for people to look into as they pass by.
The view, says Jamie Coughlin, abi Hub’s CEO, is a look at New Hampshire’s newest ecosystem.
“This is a vision for a new New Hampshire, in the heart of New Hampshire’s largest city,” Coughlin said this morning at the open house, “a vibrant ecosystem of innovator and do-ers.”
The abi Hub is a business accelerator that has created an environment for innovation, entrepreneurship and experience. The dreams, ideas and hard work that are hatched here become tomorrow’s company that offers Granite Staters good jobs and generous pay, creating a ripple in the overall ecosystem that benefits the entire state.
“We are well positioned to lead the country through innovation,” said Gov. Maggie Hassan, who attended the celebration. “We have great potential here and I am pleased that abi is working with innovators throughout the state.”
“We’re speaking more and more of the state as a destination for entrepreneurs and start-ups,” he said. “A place where those with innovative ideas can begin their journey and progress to the result: Well-paying jobs.”
This kind of environment, or ecosystem, doesn’t just happen, Way said, and Coughlin has done well in reaching out across the state to spread the message that innovators and entrepreneurs will find resources, mentors and experience to help them with their start-ups.
“Today we are in the business of accelerated serendipity,” Coughlin said. “abi and New Hampshire represent the Live Free and Start capitol of the world.”
Keep an eye on that window in downtown Manchester. From there, and reaching out across New Hampshire, great things will happen.
Being that this is the second Tuesday in March in New Hampshire, there are two things of note happening, both involving time-honored traditions that make you glad you live here.
Sugarhouses across the state are fired up now and boiling into syrup the first gallons of sap running from the maple trees.
And today is Town Meeting Day, when residents get fired up (a few even boil) but within a few hours, the municipal business for another year is decided. It’s here where there are great lessons in frugality, generosity and oratory.
Ask Granite Staters what Town Meeting is all about and they’ll tell you it’s grassroots democracy. It’s the day when the ledger is opened on what it costs to run a community and decisions will be made on how to spend on things like road repairs and water line construction, upkeep of town properties, how much to save over the next few years to buy a fire truck or police car and whether to build a new school.
Town Meeting Tuesday
It’s a day when anyone can become an accountant, delving into the spending of a town, scrutinizing bottom lines, making a case to spend or save in the forum of a voting booth or the middle of a gym floor turned meeting place. It’s a chance for everyone to become a CEO of sorts in the business of running a town.
Here is where the priorities of a town are set for the coming year and where each voter can weigh in. As investments go, spending a couple of hours at Town Meeting is always a good one.
On a sweeter note, maple syrup.
The first bottles of the season have been put up and, since it takes warm days and cool nights to get the sap running, it must mean that spring is gaining ground.
Maple syrup production is not one of our huge industries, but it’s an important one. Our neighbors down the hall at the Division of Forest and Lands note that maple syrup production is part of New Hampshire’s forest economy, which contributes $2.26 billion annually.
More than revenue, the stewards of our forests maintain many things that are dear to New Hampshire – environmental health, recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat and the preservation of our rural character.
So here’s to March in New Hampshire and two great traditions.
Go forth and vote and then have a pancake … with maple syrup, of course.
The second one heads to Rome on June 24-25 and is specific to the aerospace, defense safety and security sectors. Those dates happen to be on the tail of the Paris International Air Show (and several New Hampshire companies are planning to attend), but you don’t need to be taking part in the air show to participate.
“This will be a fun opportuntiy for people to get inside these high-tech companies and see what they do,” said Carmen Lorentz, the executive director of the BEDC. “Many people don’t have direct link to manufacturing today, so we wanted to given the community a chance to get to know these companies and see for themselves what great career opportunities they offer.”
What a great idea. Go check out your local manufacturers – they do good things.
Vapotherm, which makes innovative respiratory products and services, relocated from Stevensville, Md., to Exeter and plans to hire about 40 new employees this year. P.A.T Products is relocating its corporate headquarters from Bangor, Maine to the Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth.
NH Division of Economic Development
The digital world is a fascinating place, especially for a company like Enterasys Secure Networks, which, by the way, relocated a few months ago to Salem, along with 500 jobs.
Enterasys is about being wired, connected and social. Vala Afshar, as the company’s chief marketing officer and chief customer officer, is the face of all things social and although he started out as an engineer, he’s recognized for driving home the need for an effective and powerful digital footprint.
We chatted with Vala the other day about the search that’s now underway for what he is calling a “social media evangalist.”
But don’t call up your resume and fire up the printer just yet. He’s not interested in, nor will he accept, your paper resume.
“The paper resume is dead,” he said.
What it’s going to take to land the job is a Klout score above 60, a strong Kred, some meat on your PeerIndex.
It’s going to be about the splash you’ve made in the digital pond and the ripples you left behind.
You can follow Vala on Twitter. (You can follow us on Twitter, too …). And click over to our Facebook page, where we’ll have a couple of clips from our visit with Vala.
Enterasys worked with our recruitment manager Michael Bergeron and relocated from Andover, Mass., to 9 Northeast Boulevard in Salem. In addition to the 500 people working there now, the company plans to hire up to 50 more this year.
New Hampshire Division of Economic Development
Hannah Grimes, for which the center is named, was born in 1776 in Keene and lived on a farm in neighboring Roxbury. What she and her family could not produce on their land, they bought and bartered for from friends, keeping the 18th century economy moving and growing.
With her life as inspiration, the organization bearing her name began in 1997 as a retail marketplace for local products. More than 15 years later, it includes a business incubator providing office space for new and emerging businesses to start, grow, thrive and move out on their own.
Hannah Grimes’ Entrepreneurship Program is a six-month intensive program focusing on raising current businesses to the next level of operation. Graduates of the program report an average sales increase of 68 percent in one year.
The original Hannah Grimes Marketplace continues to grow and now supports more than 270 local artisans, cooks and farmers. The center recently established a partnership to strengthen and support the area’s growing regional food system, which will help improve farm income, create jobs in the food production industry, and stimulate economic productivity and food self-sufficiency in the region.
The Champions in Action program was launched in 2002 by Citizens Bank and WMUR to support nonprofit organizations in their efforts in local communities.
Congratulations to everyone at Hannah Grimes.
We’ve been talking trade a lot here at the Division of Economic Development because there is so much interest in the opportunities the world over has for New Hampshire companies.
For companies that have made the leap overseas, the International Trade Resource Center has a terrific seminar coming up on Feb. 13, International Marketing: Putting Your Best Face Forward. It’s a full day of tips including how to increase website traffic and using social media in other parts of the world.
Cost is $95 and includes breakfast and lunch. Go ahead and click over to register here.
(We’ll wait for you to come back.)
It’s lights, camera, action next week for an Amherst company, which will be featured on the popular television series, World’s Greatest, which is produced by How2Media.
Vibrac is a small manufacturer marking its 53rd year and it makes the world’s most sensitive torque measurement instruments, used in aerospace, military, defense, medical, bearing and the automotive industry.
“Very importantly, they are not resting on their longevity,” said GordonFreeman, executive producer of the show. “They continue to launch new product lines of precision measurement instruments to help multiple industries. That makes them a company we like to feature on World’s Greatest. We think their story will be meaningful to our viewers.”
We think so, too. Click on the media link above to see where it will air near you.
We’re heading over to the 8th annual Small Business Day next Friday, Feb. 8. Brought to you by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, the half-day event will take a look at federal health care reform, financing strategies for your small business, the new LLC act and an update on policy issues from legislators.
Gov. Maggie Hassan will also attend.
Cost is $15 and you need to register. Call 224-5388×116 or click here.
By virtue of its top billing, the number 1 is usually always a priority – it’s a good thing to be Number 1 if you are on a sports team or you’re waiting in line for a concert ticket.
Today, the number 1 was a good thing for business because the Senate Ways and Means Committee took up SB1, a bipartisan plan to double New Hampshire’s research and development tax credit and repeal the sunset provision in current legislation. The bill was sponsored by 21 state senators and five state representatives and the committee voted 5-0 to send along. This is a number 1 priority.
Gov. Hassan visited Globe Manufacturing in Pittsfield last week as part of her Innovate NH tour. The company makes fire suits used around the world.
Under this bill, the tax credit would go from $1 million to $2 million and it would be permanent – it would never go away – and New Hampshire would be among the majority of states that offer this incentive to businesses.
Sure, other states may offer more, but this is our way of being supportive of businesses that spend time and money looking for ways to be faster, stronger, lighter, economical and otherwise more productive and cutting edge because, in the end, we all benefit.
“It is one more incentive for out of state businesses to consider New Hampshire, particularly our high tech sector, which in turn helps the state to provide well-paying jobs and further diversify the economy,” said Christopher Way, interim director of the Division of Economic Development at this morning’s hearing. “Companies of all sizes gain as it encourages small companies to remain on the leading edge of R&D, which also benefits the larger companies they in turn supply.”
Also testifying at the hearing were representatives from several businesses, trade organizations and manufacturers from around the state, including New England Wire Technologies, located in Lisbon; Freudenberg , with eight locations in New Hampshire, and Graphicast of Jaffrey. In all, about two dozen people attended this hearing.
Companies that are devoting time and money to research and development will gain and it will help, as Val Zanchuck, president of Graphicast, noted, being awarded the credit enabled him to hire three interns from Dartmouth College to conduct research on the company’s manufacturing process.
First introduced in 2007, the R&D tax credit is increasingly popular. Last year, 111 companies applied for a total of $4.1 million. Since only $1 million is available, the companies received a pro-rated amount, so one requesting the maximum of $50,000 received $12,065.
By doubling the amount available, companies would get a greater return on their applications. It tells them, and any prospective business considering a move or expansion here, that innovation matters here and that New Hampshire is committed to that.
Division of Economic Development
Gov. Maggie Hassan tours Freudenberg-NOK in Manchester on Jan. 4.
Maggie Hassan spent her first day as governor meeting with officials from Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies, a company with deep roots in the Granite State and plans for investment, expansion and creation of new jobs.
Hassan used the visit to highlight New Hampshire’s Research and Development tax credit, which she said will help to encourage more innovative businesses to come to New Hampshire, while helping companies already here to prosper.
“My Innovate NH plan calls for doubling the R&D tax credit, a measure that has bipartisan support, so we can help businesses like Freudenberg-NOK and others across the state to innovate, grow and succeed,” she said.
Freudenberg-NOK is a leading manufacturer of materials and products for the automotive, energy and aerospace industries. Last summer, company officials said they anticipate hiring up to 100 new employees and investing millions of dollars in capital expenditure over the next two years to maintain its robust commitment in the Granite State.
“The Research and Development tax credit is very popular among our manufacturing companies,” said Christopher Way, interim director of the Division of Economic Development. “Doubling the tax credit is a great first step for this new administration.”
In a statement, Leesa Smith, Freudenberg North America President and Regional Representative, called the R&D credit a meaningful investment in New Hampshire.
“It acts as an incentive for companies like Freudenberg to make investments in innovation and new technologies, which could ultimately result in the creation of new jobs.”
Hassan toured the Manchester facility on Friday afternoon, which employs about 420 people, meeting a number of workers. Freudenberg operates three companies, seven industrial facilities and employs a total of 1,300 people in the state; it began its US operations in the Granite State 60 years ago.
The business is what is says – a secured place for servers and networks, vital things needed in today’s society so we can do something as easy as hitting send on an email to processing monetary transactions.
Low moved the business – and his family – north from Massachusetts nearly a year ago, setting up in the Littleton Industrial Park, which in his search for a location, was appealing because of its fiber optics network and industrial power supply, as well as its distance from major population centers.
Why is that important?
Last month, one of the North Country’s newest companies was far enough away from the destruction of Superstorm Sandy to help businesses maintain continuity, which helped untold numbers of people maintain their continuity.
Although many of us well out of harm’s way had some inconvenience, like when our banks’ servers were affected, we suspect Kevin’s company got many others back on track, from the heart of the White Mountains.
So go ahead, we don’t mind — email a link to this post to your friends or tweet it to the universe.
Because you can …
NH Division of Economic Development