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New Online Virtual Community for Small Business Launched

As part of a continuing effort to connect businesses with the resources and services they need to be successful and grow, and to answer questions growing small businesses may have, the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development yesterday unveiled MyExpertNet.

Dr. William Osgood of the Knowledge Institute looks on as Governor John Lynch announces the unveiling of the MyExpertNet initiative.

Dr. William Osgood of the Knowledge Institute looks on as Governor John Lynch announces the unveiling of the MyExpertNet initiative.

MyExpertNet is a virtual community created through a public-private partnership where small businesses can get answers to business questions from qualified experts, and connect with other members of the business community to share ideas, resources and markets. The initiative is the result of collaboration between the Knowledge Institute, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, Comcast, Public Service of New Hampshire, Centrix Bank and Unitil.

“Over the last several years we have worked to give businesses the tools needed to help them be successful, to grow their companies and create jobs,” Gov. John Lynch said. Under Gov. Lynch, the State of New Hampshire has reinstated the Job Training Fund, and more than 7,000 workers from across New Hampshire have received enhanced training. The State, which has 7th best business tax environment in the nation, created a Research and Development Tax Credit to help innovative companies grow.

“These have been difficult economic times for our state and our businesses. That is why it is important we continue to work with small businesses to help ensure they have what they need to grow,” Gov. Lynch said. “Through MyExpertNet, small businesses can have their questions answered by one of the many volunteer experts. It is important to connect business people with the information they need to be successful and this is one more way we are doing that.”

Over 40 business professionals have volunteered to serve as experts and provide their time, skills and expertise for the initiative. These experts will cover areas ranging from accounting and energy efficiency to federal contracting and international trade. Additional experts will be added in the future, providing entrepreneurs with the opportunity to have their questions answered by more than one professional in each subject area.

“MyExpertNet is an environment where all participants add value and all receive value a true win-win for all involved,” said Knowledge Institute President/CFO Dr. William Osgood, architect of the initiative. “This innovative concept also represents a model that other states can embrace to further the positive impact in building small business strength across the country. We’re pleased that New Hampshire is, once again, a leader in this critical arena.”
 

Comcast's Peter Marsh discusses how his company has supported the creation of the new virtual community for small businesses.

Comcast's Peter Marsh discusses how his company has supported the creation of the new virtual community for small businesses.

Major sponsor Comcast has committed to run a MyExpertNet promotional television spot throughout its New Hampshire operating area to help increase awareness of the service.

“Spreading the word about this innovative new initiative ensures that more businesses are given the opportunity to grow and thrive,” said Peter Marsh, Vice President of Business Services for Comcast’s Greater Boston Region. “Comcast is pleased to help small business owners stay focused on growing their business by connecting local owners with the best thought leaders on MyExpertNet.”

“In today’s fast-paced economy, the ability of the public and private sectors to work cooperatively is key in supporting job creation and building an environment where everyone feels responsible for building the economy,” added Public Service of New Hampshire Business Development Manager Gordon Tuttle. “MyExpertNet not only builds closer relationships between the government and the business community, it creates the type of virtual mentorships between experts and entrepreneurs that truly define the term `paying it forward.'”

Sojourn Partners Managing Partner Russ Ouellette, an expert in the “management” category, said that he is pleased to be part of an initiative that allows entrepreneurs to relieve some of their anxiety about business creation and development.

“Anyone who has ever started a business knows that the process is daunting at best and terrifying at worst,” he said. “To have someone who has been through what you’re going through and who is willing to take the time to help you navigate the rough waters is invaluable. This is a great initiative.”

To learn more about MyExpertNet, visit www.myexpertnet.org. Business professionals interested in joining the online expert community are asked to contact Dr. William Osgood at (603) 658-0340 or wro@buzgate.org. To view a list of the registered experts, visit http://www.myexpertnet.org/volunteers.html.

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