In just a little over 24 hours, we hosted international delegations from Turkey (Wednesday) and China (Thursday). It’s not often we get to host to guests from overseas, so back-to-back visits is where the unique and unusual comes in. This tells us that from a global perspective, New Hampshire is rich in opportunity.
From our perspective, we do, of course, already know that … and we are quite confident that from these visits will come an awareness of the products made right here in the Granite State and create new markets for the companies that produce them.
When demand for products increases, so does the workforce and new jobs have to be filled.
Our Turkish guests were from the Istanbul Efficiency Business Association and arrived very eager and enthusiastic about exploring everything from cultural exchanges and a couple of our college campuses to making connections for another planned visit in September.
The Turkish Delegation arrived on Wednesday.
About 5,000 Turkish-Americans call New Hampshire home and Turkey ranks ninth among our trading partners. So there were no strangers in the group, just friends we hadn’t met yet.
On Thursday morning, we welcomed eight people from the Jilin province in China, many of them our counterparts in economic development, including Gao Cailin, Director General of the Office of Financial Affairs for the province and Dai Min, president of the Center for America-China Partnership.
New Hampshire companies exported products they make that totaled $4.3 billion last year and while parts of the world are dealing with their own challenging economies, China and Turkey are looking for new opportunities and new relationships.
In short, while some businesses still have lingering concern, access to credit is the least of their worries.
And this is a good thing, because Granite State banks still see – and believe in – local businesses as the engines that will propel New Hampshire out of the recession.
The findings of the survey are encouraging:
- 82 percent of all businesses surveyed said they had no difficulty accessing the credit they needed in the last 12 months;
- 94 percent said they looked to banks for their credit needs and
– 41 percent of businesses surveyed sought a loan or line of credit in the past year, and the majority of those companies – 62 percent – were approved for the full amount of the request.
Nationally, 20 percent of businesses expect the economy to expand in the next year, but New Hampshire businesses – 30 percent of them – expect it to grow over the next 12 months.
Perhaps the most promising result of the survey is that just over half of the businesses taking part in the poll – 52 percent – are confident they’ll see growth in both gross sales and revenues and 31 percent expect to add more employees as a result.
“It reflects an ongoing commitment by New Hampshire’s banks to partner with local businesses in order to help them grow,” said Christiana Thornton, president of the New Hampshire Bankers Association. “The majority of businesses continue to look to their bank for their financing needs, and receive the credit they are seeking. It is clear New Hampshire banks are playing a central role in supporting local businesses and helping to fuel the local economy.”
Our name – the Division of Economic Development – is also our mission. We work with businesses across the state, helping them grow, expand, adjust, innovate and prosper.
We could not do our job without the wisdom, experience, insight and guidance of our Economic Development Advisory Council. Established some years ago, the council assists us in planning and measuring our efforts. With 22 members from across all sectors of business and industry, their counsel is invaluable.
The quarterly EDAC meeting was held this morning. Attendance was robust and so were the reports from our membership. The consensus is that while the New Hampshire economy was not without some hardships in the recession, it weathered the challenges of the past few years much better than other states.
We apprised our council of what’s happening in our division and frankly, it’s exciting. Business recruitment and retention efforts are paying dividends. Our Office of International Commerce is reaching out around the globe for opportunities for New Hampshire companies. New ways to use social media, this blog and even the old fashioned methods of dissemination are spreading the word about the good things that are happening in the New Hampshire economy.
As sure as the purple lilacs will bloom in another couple of weeks, so is the Granite State economy.
New Hampshire has given the world a lot of what we can’t do without, like the first potato ever grown in the U.S. , the latex balloon, and (being that it’s Friday night) the corkscrew. These are items invented by curious minds devoted to finding a better way to make life easier, leaving a legacy of entrepreneurship that thrives in basements, old mills, backyards, sewing rooms and kitchens.
All across our state, that spirit of innovation and passion is alive and well and you can see it this weekend at The Made In NH Try It & Buy It Expo, sponsored by our friends at Business NH Magazine. We stopped by this afternoon and visited with some old friends who amaze us with their creativity, as well as emerging entrepreneurs and downright geniuses.
In front of hundreds of people on the front lines of all the reasons people come here to visit the Granite State, they unveiled their new campaign.
Live Free and …
As Lori Harnois explains in the video, these three words invite visitors to fill in that last word. It’s indeed an invitation to be adventurous, follow a passion or just be. It invokes part of our state motto, a source of pride to us, and with this campaign, we invite our visitors to share all the things we love about New Hampshire.
Tourism is a $4 billion industry here — our second largest — and employs over 64,000 people. For every dollar spent to encourage visitors, more than $9 comes back. Beyond all the activities and the beauty, the intangible visitors find here – the sense of place and the spirit – that’s priceless.
Being that it’s Friday and it’s time to switch gears, finish this sentence:
Two months before the shopping begins at the Merrimack Premium Outlets, representatives of the more than 100 stores that will open there in June went shopping for employees Friday. About 800 positions need to be filled and answering the call were more than 2,000 people who came out to Nashua Community College on Friday.
On hand were teenagers, many of whom were likely seeking their first summer job, moms looking for hours that will accommodate their family time and folks looking to change direction in their lives, for whatever the reason. In the gymnasium, there was energy, enthusiasm and optimism that will propel the employees, the stores, the region and New Hampshire further out of the economic malaise of the past few years.
Mark your calendars for the grand opening – June 14.
(Memo to Fossil: We’ll be back to admire that handbag you had on display …)