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Archive for January, 2010

A Flashback to the Days of Vinyl Focus of “First Class Business”

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Looking for that impossible to find original version of The Beatles’ “Revolver” album? Can’t seem to land Carl Douglas’ immortal “Kung Fu Fighting” on 45 RPM? If you’ve been on a quest for a hard to find recording, you’d be wise to listen to this month’s “First Class Business” segment of Jack Heath’s “New Hampshire Today” show on WTPL 107.7 FM on Wednesday, February 3rd at 4 p.m.

vinyl-recordThis month’s “First Class Business” is Manchester-based Music Connection, a music store which harkens back to the day when vinyl was king. Owner Richard Gesner has spent the past 22 years helping customers locate vinyl records from great artists from the past and present though his store also features CDs and cassettes.

“The Music Connection is a step back in time where all of your old favorites can be heard in the background while you shop,” said Heath. “If you miss the purity of a vinyl recording or have a burning question about a release that you’ve never quite been able to find, this show will be a great one for you.”

 “First Class Business” appears on a monthly basis as part of the “New Hampshire Today” program that runs from 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday on “The Pulse.” “New Hampshire Today” host Jack Heath and New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner George Bald share good news about innovative new products created by New Hampshire companies, community service projects undertaken by local businesses and firms that are thriving despite a tough economic climate.

To listen live, tune in to WTPL 107.7 on Wednesday, February 3rd at 4 p.m. or visit WTPL online at www.wtplfm.com.

Of Wolves and Magic

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Introduced a new product line? Captured a new client that’s going to put your business over the top? Found the elusive secret to ongoing success?

Dwight Schrute knows the "real deal".

Dwight Schrute knows the "real deal".

If so, you must be wearing the “Three Wolf Moon” shirt, the official t-shirt of New Hampshire economic development. What went into the decision behind the recent designation of this shirt with undeniably mystical powers? What was the initial result?

To learn more, visit my blog post titled “Of Wolves and Magic” on the NHBR Network at Check out my latest blog post on the NHBR Network at http://www.nhbrnetwork.com/profiles/blogs/of-wolves-and-magic

The NHBR Network is an online business-to-business networking site that is providing businesspeople around the state with valuable information, tips and assistance from a team of contributors that include NHBR Editor Jeff Feingold, Andy Volinsky, Chuck Sink, Heidi Page, Steven Feinberg, CPA, Bill Ryan, Jason Blais, Deb Titus, Deb LeClair, Cindy Kibbe, Bob Sanders, Dr. John Benson, Clyde Terry and yes,  good old me. Make it your New Year’s Resolution to visit the site and sign up today!!

– Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director

Understanding the WARN Notification

Friday, January 29th, 2010

As of the new year, New Hampshire employers became aware of new guidelines under the Workforce Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. This new legislation requires local companies that meet specific criteria to give advance notice of a layoff or closing.

Fran Allain

Fran Allain

However, there are steps that you can take as a business to prevent a layoff or closing. In the linked blog posting, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Employee Retention Project Manager Fran Allain details some of those steps and helps to explain the new WARN Act law.

To learn more, visit http://www.nheconomy.com/workforce/WarnBusinessServices.aspx.

UNH Awarded $1.7M For Broadband Internet Mapping Project

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded the University of New Hampshire’s Geographically Referenced Analysis and Information Transfer (NH GRANIT) project approximately $1.7 million to manage a program that will inventory and map current and planned broadband coverage available to the state’s businesses, educators, and citizens. 

unhThe New Hampshire Broadband Mapping Program (NHBMP) is a coordinated, multi-agency initiative funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and is part of a national effort to expand high-speed Internet access and adoption through improved data collection and broadband planning.

GRANIT, which is housed at the UNH Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS), serves as the statewide geographic information system (GIS) clearinghouse.

“The results of the mapping activity will be an important determinant in future broadband access across the state, which is important for all citizens in terms of economic development, education, health care, public health and safety, and quality of life issues,” says GRANIT director Fay Rubin of the Complex Systems Research Center at EOS.

The state’s nine regional planning commissions will collaborate with GRANIT on data collection and verification activities, as well as conduct regional broadband planning activities. Additional support will be provided by a variety of state agencies, including the Division of Economic Development, the Office of Energy and Planning, and the Public Utilities Commission.

Carol Miller

Carol Miller

“We are pleased to set this project in motion. It’s a great example of how collaboration between public and private agencies works for the betterment of all,” says Carol Miller, director of broadband technology at the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development. She adds, “In addition, we will be providing information that will help to develop and track the national broadband plan.”

The Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC) based in Keene is taking the lead role among the regional planning commissions for the project. “This initiative comes at a time of challenge and represents a significant opportunity to address the infrastructure needs of our communities and our state so vital in maintaining a vibrant economy,” says Tim Murphy, executive director of SWRPC.

The project is comprised of two components: a two-year broadband availability inventory and mapping effort, and a four-year planning initiative.

The inventory will use service-area data collected from the 60-plus public and commercial entities, both landline and wireless, that provide broadband services in the state. These data, describing service availability, type, and technology, will help to identify areas of the state that are unserved or underserved by the current broadband infrastructure. Data will also be collected on broadband availability at individual community anchor institutions, including schools, libraries, medical/healthcare locations, public safety offices, and state, county, and municipal buildings. 

The planning component of the NHBMP will incorporate the information collected and the momentum generated by the mapping activities into regional broadband plans throughout New Hampshire. It will involve establishing regional broadband stakeholder groups to identify barriers to broadband deployment, promote collaboration with service providers, facilitate information sharing regarding the use of and demand for broadband services, and develop broadband plans for each region of the state. 

NTIA has now awarded 41 grants to states and U.S. territories totaling approximately $78 million under the program. In addition to NH, the most recent round of awards went to Iowa, Montana, Utah, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The agency expects to finish announcing awards under the program in early 2010. 

The data collected and compiled under the national program will be used to develop publicly available state-wide broadband maps and to inform the comprehensive, interactive, and searchable national broadband map that NTIA is required by the Recovery Act to create and make publicly available by February 17, 2011.

According to Rubin, the NHBMP is scheduled to deliver a preliminary assessment of areas of the state that are unserved or underserved by broadband to NTIA by this spring.

“We will be contacting agencies, organizations, businesses, and residents in the state and we hope that there will be a high degree of interest in and support for this effort. Collecting accurate and comprehensive data will be critical for the project’s success,” Rubin says.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state’s flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.

NH Economic Development and Three Wolf Moon Joined at the Howl

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

It has been said to cure diseases, help humans achieve flight and improve bowling skills. It has also generated over 1,600 reviews on Amazon.com and created a worldwide stir resulting in media coverage from ABC News and the BBC. And soon it will be used to stimulate economic development in the state of New Hampshire.

threewolfmoonThe New Hampshire Division of Economic Development today announced that it has designated the “Three Wolf Moon” the official t-shirt of New Hampshire economic development. Created by Keene-based t-shirt manufacturer The Mountain, the shirt, which features three wolves howling at the moon, became an overnight viral Internet sensation when Brian Govern, a student at Rutgers University, authored a satirical comment about the garment on Amazon.com. That led to a barrage of similar reviews which propelled the sales of the shirt to a number one ranking in Amazon’s apparel line.

“The Mountain’s ‘Three Wolf Moon’ is a true New Hampshire success story,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director Steve Boucher. “What started off as a tongue in cheek take on a cool t-shirt has resulted in worldwide acclaim for a very creative and growing Granite State business. When every social media outlet as well as the mainstream press is covering your story, you know that you’ve created something big.”

Worn by luminaries ranging from “The Office’s” Rainn Wilson and “True Blood’s” Allan Hyde to “Napleon Dynamite’s” Jon Heder and even the U.S. Marine Corps’ Bravo Company 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, the “Three Wolf Moon” shirt has made its mark in popular culture. Boucher said that he plans to initiate an online campaign featuring local business officials and celebrities wearing the shirt to capitalize on the phenomenon.

“It’s definitely an attention getter,” he said. “By capturing the interest of those who follow pop culture trends, we hope that they’ll also check out our other online offerings and discover that New Hampshire is a state that does business differently and embraces the creativity of its many innovative companies.”

In addition to the online campaign, the Division of Economic Development also plans to give “Three Wolf Moon” shirts to winners of its monthly “Innovation Rocks!” initiative. “Innovation Rocks” is an awards program that celebrates the ingenuity of New Hampshire’s innovation leaders.

“We’re very excited about this partnership and the opportunity to let more people know about business opportunities available here,” said The Mountain Art Director Michael McGloin. “As a local company, we’re pleased to be able to do our part to use Three Wolf Moon in a creative way to help attract other companies to New Hampshire. Working together is what makes our state different and great.”

McGloin pointed out that The Mountain currently markets over 400 other “Animal Spirit Power Shirts” and that the “Three Wolf Moon” shirt has spent nearly 200 days on Amazon’s Top 100 list. With over 1,300 5 star reviews from users, 2010 might very well be the “year of the wolf.” 
And as for the “magical properties” that the shirt is purported to possess, the Division of Economic Development’s Boucher said that he’s very optimistic about it’s anticipated effect on the New Hampshire economy.

“If it can generate half of the results that Amazon shoppers are experiencing, we’re in awesome shape – every CEO should be wearing this shirt,” he said.

To learn more about The Mountain and “Three Wolf Moon,” visit www.themountain.me. The Division of Economic Development has an online presence at www.nheconomy.com, http://blog.nheconomy.com/, http://www.facebook.com/NoBullBusiness and http://twitter.com/NoBullBlog.

State & WTPL Join Forces on “Shop & Buy NH” Effort

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

“Shop local and buy local” is the message being spread by the State of New Hampshire and WTPL 107.7 FM who announced today that they’re joining forces on a new initiative to highlight the positive effects of local spending on the economy.

Commissioner George Bald

Commissioner George Bald

During the first week of February, radio listeners will hear a special public service announcement from Governor John Lynch and New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald urging that citizens shop and buy local in order to stimulate the local economy, build stronger communities and generate job creation. The state’s merchants will also be offering special sales to both honor existing customers and create new ones.

“There’s no question that spending locally generates a ripple effect throughout the state,” said Commissioner Bald. “When you’re buying from local merchants and supporting local products, you’re helping to circulate more money in the community you live in. You’re also making an investment in jobs, local infrastructure and business growth.”

WTPL’s “New Hampshire Today” afternoon program will feature many local businesses in an effort to introduce listeners to the merchants and innovative products that serve as the backbone of the state’s economy.

WTPL's Jack Heath

WTPL's Jack Heath

“New Hampshire is home to some of the most creative and pioneering entrepreneurs in the nation,” said “New Hampshire Today” host Jack Heath. “It’s time to celebrate the businesses which have chosen to make our great state their home and to do our part to help New Hampshire outpace the rest of the nation in terms of economic growth.”

The initiative will kick off on Monday morning, February 1st with a live broadcast of the NH Wake-Up Show from the Barley House in downtown Concord. To listen live, check out 107.7 FM between 7-10 a.m. or visit www.wtplfm.com.

Making $ense New England to Air Tonight on NHPTV

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Protecting your investments from swindlers, following a dream of starting a business, obtaining small business loans, and staying warm with help from a home energy assistance program are featured on MAKING $ENSE NEW ENGLAND, which airs Thursday, January 21 at 8 p.m. on New Hampshire Public Television, Maine Public Broadcasting Network and Vermont Public Television.

nhptv_logoSavings swindlers. By the time Bob Kalinowski realized that his dad was being swindled out of his life savings, it was too late. Robert Kalinowski, Sr. of Bennington was lured into a series of unwise and illegal investments and personal loans by his trusted local financial advisor. Eventually, the matter was brought to the attention of local police and the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities & Health Care Administration (BISHCA). For the victim’s son, a Vermont State Trooper, frustration at not having detected the problem was particularly strong. Learn some of the warning signals of investment fraud and ways of starting a financial dialog with senior citizens, who are particularly vulnerable.

Starting Your Dream Business. A lot of people dream of starting their own small business, but it takes a lot of courage to do so. For some, getting laid off from a job spurs them on to pursue their dream. In 2007, Jill DeWitt of Portland, Maine, newly unemployed, started the Good Eats Boutique, which taps a variety of independent bakers to supply treats for her business.

Independent Banking & Small Businesses. There’s been a lot of news lately about the difficulties small business owners face securing loans to start or expand their enterprises. We talk with Bill Gilson of Monadnock Community Bank about how to go about obtaining a loan.

Staying Warm. For many people in northern New England, staying warm this winter with a tight personal budget is a challenge. Last year, Congress allocated $5.1 billion to Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), making winter’s fury a bit easier to handle for many people.  Making $ense correspondent Phil Vaughn examines how the program might help you.   

MAKING $ENSE NEW ENGLAND, a 10-part series, airs monthly through August 2010, with stories about grassroots responses and solutions to the economic crisis of northern New England. The series is a collaboration of New Hampshire Public Television, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, and Vermont Public Television. www.makingsensene.org

Funding for MAKING $ENSE NEW ENGLAND is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Investor Protection Trust; the Foundation for Financial Planning; the FINRA Investor Education Foundation; and Goodwill Industries of Northern New England .

Webinar Preview – Business Start Up Tips

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

There’s a saying that “There’s no time like the present” to start something new and in terms of creating a new business in the Granite State, that’s certainly true. If you’re unemployed, underemployed or simply have a great idea that could translate into a new business, you would be well advised to tune in to tomorrow’s NH BizCast kickoff Webinar entitled “Starting a Business in a Down Economy.”

Knowledge Institute President Deborah Osgood is an expert at helping entrepreneurs gain the tools and skills they need to get their businesses off the ground. Here’s a little more about her:

deb-osgood2Deborah Osgood is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Knowledge Institute, specialist in entrepreneurial education and development. Deborah is a speaker, author, consultant and expert in entrepreneurship and marketing, has been featured on New York’s WPIX morning news, WMUR NH Businesses, and Boston WCVB TV Chronicle, and is the national spokesperson for IBM in supporting women and minority business development. In 2008 she was named Women in Business Champion by the U.S. Small Business Administration and also received awards for Excellence in Business Services, Enterprising Woman of the Year, Women’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, and Outstanding Woman in Media.

Join Deb tomorrow January 20th from noon-1p.m. at the following address: http://www.nheconomy.com/videos.aspx for the first of our NH BizCast webinars!!! (You can also join us live at the Comfort Inn in Concord, NH – please arrive 15 minutes prior to the Webinar.)

Jittergram Named January “Innovation Rocks!” Award Winner

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Savvy shoppers are using their cellphones to rack up savings thanks to a local company that is paving the way in social mobile marketing. By “helping people save money and helping businesses make money,” Jittergram has been named the New Hampshire Business Resource Center’s “Innovation Rocks!” award winner for the month of January.

jittergram_logo2Recognizing the fact that studies suggest that the redemption rate for mobile messaging coupons is nearly seven times higher than the redemption rate for printed coupons, Jittergram, a Manchester-based company, has helped consumers receive exclusive deals from their favorite restaurants, shops, and stores delivered right to their phones. It has also assisted businesses send just in time text promotions to their customers’ phones instantly. 

“In just two short years, Jittergram has revolutionized the way that social mobile commerce is conducted,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy. “Consumers can sign up to receive offers from only the businesses that they select and businesses can utilize a non-traditional marketing approach that is both creative and measurable. This is an extremely convenient and time saving way to do business.”

For more information about Jittergram, visit www.jittergram.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.

It’s Sad to Say Goodbye

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Parting ways with an employee is one of the most difficult decisions a manager is asked to make. In today’s fast-paced business atmosphere where teamwork has never been more important to achieving company goals, it’s imperative to have all of your employees in positions where they can grow, thrive and add value to the organization.

This month’s “Tomorrow’s Business Advice Today” column by Dr. Russ Ouellette of Sojourn Partners gets to the heart of the human resource dilemma – that letting certain employees go is good for both the company as well as the employee in question. To learn more, visit “Tomorrow’s Business Advice Today” at http://www.nheconomy.com/tomorrows-business-advice-today/. And for more information about the good folks over at Sojourn Partners, visit www.sojournpartners.com.