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Archive for March, 2016

Up Your Trade Game – Sign Up for Exporting Webinars Today

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

Exporting. It offers a world of opportunity – opportunity to increase the demand for your product or service; opportunity to increase your bottom line; opportunity to grow your business.

If your business is on the verge of landing new markets or you’re a seasoned exporter, this upcoming series of webinars have valuable information you need.

SAVE THE DATE for upcoming Office of International Commerce’s webinars:

International Trade Leads  Webinar – 3-Part Series

Wednesday, May 11  – International Trade Leads: Recognizing Red Flags

Wednesday, May 18 – International Trade Leads:  Resources for Vetting

Wednesday, May 25 – International Trade Leads: Resolution and Reporting


Export Credit Insurance  Webinar – Wednesday, June 15

* Note: The Office of International Commerce’s webinar Expanding Overseas Sales through E-Commerce will be rescheduled in late April.  eBay’s Aparna Lahiri and Robert Sweithelm will discuss opportunities to expand your overseas e-commerce sales, growing marketplaces, economic development opportunities and export compliance.

For more information about these programs, contact Rachel Adams at the Office of International Commerce.


Here’s to Our What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? Video Contest Winners

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016



The students from Northampton School, who won the 2016 What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? video contest were feted by Commissioner Rose, Gov. Hassan and the Executive Council last week (watch here). What an enthusiastic group!

We had great participation this year; in all, 10 schools submitted 11 videos, which you can watch on the NHEconomy.com YouTube channel. Thanks to generous sponsorship from Hypertherm, BAE Systems and Velcro USA, we handed out $1,750 to the top three entries.

We are already planning the 2017 contest, so we’re putting out the word to parents, principals, teachers and manufacturers to become involved next year. It’s open to middle school students in New Hampshire.

If you’re interested, head over to our video contest page (we’re updating it, but the information is the same!) and use the handy-dandy form to let us know. We’ll work with teachers to partner with a local manufacturer and we’ll work with manufacturers to pair them with a team.

Teams can get started once the new school year begins in September; the deadline is Feb. 10. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Lorna Colquhoun
Communications Director
Division of Economic Development


5 Questions with Carol Miller, NH Economic Development

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

We’re well enough into the 21st century that once futuristic terms, such as broadband, connectivity, bits and bytes, are now part of our daily lives. Think of it: A generation has now lived in the era of technology – computers, cell phones, email, apps.

Today’s 5 Questions go to our own Carol Miller, who makes sure New Hampshire is on the forefront of technology.


Carol Miller ~ Director, Broadband  Technology

1. It’s nice to introduce you this morning. As the director of broadband technology, can you tell us what your role is?

My role at the Division of Economic Development is very diverse. My first responsibility is to support our recruitment and retention personnel and their clients with information on broadband availability, capacity and provider options within the scope of location selection, connectivity challenges, and technology. My other duties include tracking broadband statewide, and its effects on state economic development initiatives, and advocacy for the availability and utilization of high capacity broadband to the citizens of New Hampshire. I run a help desk for communities and citizens in need of broadband for the state, with referrals coming from the Governor’s Office, the Public Utilities Commission, legislators and economic development agencies. I manage the Governor’s Telecommunication Planning and Development Advisory Committee with the division, through a sub-committee structure that covers tele-health, education, adoption, deployment and agency goals and objectives. In addition, I represent the Department of Resources and Economic Development on  FirstNet (public safety nationwide interoperable radio network)at the Department of Safety, school connectivity at the Department of Education and use of tele-health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

2. Broadband is one of those things we’ve come to expect in the 21st century. How does New Hampshire compare with the rest of the country?

New Hampshire, for the most part, is fairly well-connected compared to the rest of the country. Despite our status, there are many pockets in rural areas that need investment in infrastructure to support high speed capacity. Many areas only have access to one provider limiting service options and falling short of delivering the promise of innovation that broadband brings to a community. New Hampshire is considered a high tech state. Business and residents embraced technology early on. With some major federal investments nationwide, many states have improved their broadband availability and some of the playing field has leveled off considerably. New Hampshire is still at the forefront of the technology, typically scoring within the top 15 states for access.

3. Why is broadband so important for a state like New Hampshire?

The benefits of broadband can be correlated to jobs, economic growth, and cost avoidance for our residents and businesses. About 34 percent of new jobs is the result of broadband; about 1.2 million jobs have been created by the development of the internet over the last decade.

Broadband creates direct jobs with the deployment of infrastructure, indirect and induced jobs from the activity, and additional jobs as a result of network availability and spillovers.

4. What are the economic development benefits of broadband?

Broadband improves efficiency and productivity of business, increases community competitiveness by attracting knowledge-based businesses, and sparks new and innovative technologies, services, applications and business models.   On the residential side  access to broadband improves educational opportunities, access to tele-health services and increases opportunity for employment and household income.

Having access to broadband can impact household income by as much as $2,100 annually. Startups can save an estimated $16,500 by using broadband services.  The Fiber to the Home Council found that companies with fiber connectivity saved about 20 percent on operating expenses. Electronic health records and remote access will save over $700 billion nationally over the next 10 to 15 years.  Adequate broadband increases real estate values $5,000 to $6,000 and lack of it decrease real estate value up to 20 percent.

5. What’s ahead?

I will continue to provide support, advocacy, and consulting in the legislature and for communities in need of broadband working with public and private partners throughout the state to remove barriers. Broadband is essential and the  availability, adoption, affordability and high speed capacity will be challenges for many years to come.

5 Questions with Chris Way, on Northern Border Regional Commission Grants

Friday, March 18th, 2016

The Northern Border Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership with a mission to encourage economic development across a four-state region, including New Hampshire. Each year, grants are awarded to projects that reflect that mission. Eligible counties include Carroll, Coos, designated areas in Grafton, and Sullivan Counties. Our deputy director, Chris Way, coordinates applications and today talks about what you need to know to apply.

Chris Way

Chris Way

1. The call is out now for the next round of grants offered annually by the Northern Border Regional Commission. For the past several years, you have coordinated the applications put forth by New Hampshire agencies and organizations. Can you tell us about the eligibility requirements to apply?

First, you do have to have a project that is eligible portions of the state, namely Sullivan, Coos, Grafton and Carroll. Grafton is a little more restrictive this year as only certain communities are eligible (called isolated areas of distress).

Next, you have to be a municipal, state or nonprofit entity. Private businesses are not eligible. That’s not to say there cannot be collaboration; it’s just that the grant can’t be a pass through to private companies.

Third, and not to state the obvious, you need to have a project that will actually work and can be done as proposed. Can you finish the project in the time allotted? Will you be able to secure the matching funds needed? Do you have the approvals necessary to make it work? We, and NBRC, focus on these issues, because with such limited funds, we need to make sure that projects can move as proposed and money spent wisely.

If you have questions about eligibility, particularly if you are in Grafton County, go to the website or call me.

2. What’s new this year about the process?  

The program has certainly evolved over time, and this year, several exciting things are happening.

The NBRC has listened to the states and have a new website with online applications, forms and information on past grants. I am really pleased to see that FAQs are available online, because it was clear from previous cycles that all applicants had many of the same questions and challenges. Not only does it mean that New Hampshire applicants work with the same information, it also means that all four states, including New York, Vermont and Maine, are talking from the same playbook. The application is not hard, but many applicants in the past have stated that more published information would certainly make the process easier. This is also going to be reinforced with county-wide information sessions; the first one will be from 2 to 4 pm, April 1, at the 5th Circuit Court Probate Court Room, third floor, at 14 Main St., Newport. Stay tuned for others.

Did I mention more money available this year? It looks like we will be able to fund more projects with $1.7 million for each state. The $250,000 limit remains, but it does provide the grant review team with more flexibility. In fact, we had more money last year than the previous, and we were able to fully or partially fund seven great projects.

Finally, it’s also reassuring for me to know that NBRC staff stands ready to assist and partner with us on projects. These folks are passionate about the program and it has truly shown this year. Christine Frost, formerly of the North Country Council, recently joined the agency, which has really upped the game for the NBRC grant administration and its awareness of the issues in our eligible counties. The NBRC team has also done a bang up job to encourage all of our states to communicate and supportive of projects that benefit the Northern borders region.

3. What makes a good project for a Northern Borders Regional Commission grant?  

Tell a good story! Tell us how your project will create jobs, improve tourism or have a regional impact. Why should your project be a priority for the state? Will it increase the workforce, create infrastructure, promote tourism or result in new businesses?

Let me offer a brief word on application size and letters of support. Sometimes we receive applications with huge packets of information. All well and good, but remember a concise packet that hits the high points and tells the story has as much an impact as stacks of information. Local support is certainly welcome, as are the key letters from all of the partners involved in the project, but strong thoughtful letters of support can be just as good as many letters saying the same thing. I guess what I am saying is that we tend to focus on the cake, and not just the frosting.

Everybody always wants to know how projects get decided. Once projects are deemed eligible, the packages are scored by a committee based on several criteria. Recommendations are made to the commissioner of the Department of Resources and Economic Development, who then makes recommendations to the governor.

Knowing that, what makes one project better than another? Often, we get really good projects, but they may be focused on a small group who will enjoy the results, or the results are hard to predict or assess. While they are definitely eligible, it can be difficult to rise to the top when there are other projects making a better case for regional and even statewide economic benefits. And no matter what, job creation is always a strong factor.

On the flip side, be realistic – don’t predict multitudes of jobs created if you can’t back it up with a convincing argument. Don’t offer matching funds proposals that cannot be realized come time to sign the contract. We’re going to be doing more work this year on assessing the past results and we all want great stories to tell.

4. Can you give one or two examples of projects that made a difference in their communities/regions?

Sure. We just visited one in Lebanon. Last year, River Valley Community College received a grant and one year later, the inside of the building looks fantastic. The applicants did exactly what they said they were going to do, and I have no doubt the project will be successful.
Another one is the Grafton County Enterprise Center in Plymouth. Business incubators are attractive contributors to the economy and can make great projects.

And while we’re talking about successes, I also have high hopes for the Groveton mill site and its water and sewer project. That’s just about completed and will be a key piece for this high priority development site.

5. For the person/agency in Coos, Carroll, Sullivan and selected communities in Grafton Counties with a project that could benefit from a Northern Borders Regional Commission grant, what should they do next?

Don’t keep your project a secret. Let us know about it so we can talk it out with you. We want to get all projects to a point of eligibility. We don’t want waste your time, but we don’t want potential great projects to be left on the table.

For more information, contact Way via email or call 271-2341.

Join Us on the World Wide Web(inar) to Learn About E-Commerce

Friday, March 11th, 2016

(Rachel Adams takes over the blog today. She is our international trade officer and coordinator of our webinar series. – Ed)

Part of the mission of the Office of International Commerce is to educate New Hampshire businesses about the benefits of exporting and help them find global markets.

We’ve brought back our webinar series this year and the next one is scheduled for Thursday (3/17). From the comfort of your office, you can learn about the topic Expanding Overseas Sales through E-Commerce. The presenters include representatives from eBay, who will talk about increasing international business sales via e-commerce; growing marketplaces; export compliance and economic development opportunities.

E-commerce and social media have become powerful tools that companies of all sizes are using to expand their business. This webinar will have particular appeal to our small businesses, who will learn about the platform. Among the questions we’ll be asking:

  • What is different about shipping B2C instead of B2B?
  • What is the benefit of shipping to international customers?
  • What documentation does the U.S. seller have to provide for the international shipment to be processed?

Space is available; you can register here.

Our webinars cover a variety of topics and are geared toward companies that are new to exporting, as well as businesses experienced in global markets. We started 2016 with a webinar discussion Updates on United States Sanctions Cuba, Iran, Crimea, Russia & Ukraine, a newsworthy topic and will continue with the e-commerce and how to utilize international trade leads (that’s coming up next month). Our webinar series is informative and worth the time and we’re looking forward to you joining them.

For more information about our webinar series and international trade, contact me or visit www.exportnh.org.

Rachel Adams
International Trade Officer
Office of International Commerce


5 Questions with Mary Ann Kristiansen, Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship

Friday, March 4th, 2016

One of the great things about living in New Hampshire is our neighbors, especially those who step up and plug a hole in the fabric of our communities. Such is the case with Mary Ann Kristiansen, executive director of the Hannah Grimes organizations in Keene. As a soap maker, farmer and businesswoman, she noted a shortage of markets in the Monadnock region for people like her and scarce programs for these producers to learn about entering – and succeeding – in these markets. So Hannah Grimes was born – or, we should say – reborn, and now, hundreds of producers, craftsmen, artists and professionals have access to those markets and programs.

Mary Ann Kristiansen ~ Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship

1. Hannah Grimes is more than just a name for a marketplace featuring local products and an incubator that nurtures start-up businesses in Keene. Tell us about Hannah Grimes and why is she an inspiration?

Hannah Grimes was born in 1776 and married at the ripe old age of 30 to William Stoddard Buckminster. They built the farm and the home in which I live. She was not famous, but what she and her family didn’t make or grow, they bought from friends and neighbors. When I moved to the farm in 1991 and began growing and making things and meeting my wonderful New England neighbors who were doing the same, the lack of a market and business skills became readily apparent. It was before the buy local movement and it seemed like an obvious gap. So in a winding set of events, which generally mark the beginning of most entrepreneurial efforts, Hannah Grimes Marketplace was born. In Hannah Grimes’ time, the markets and skills to come to market were part of the everyday. Those skills and that infrastructure had all but disappeared and needed to be rebuilt.

2. It’s hard to believe the Hannah Grimes Marketplace is approaching its 20th anniversary. Its beginning was definitely a forerunner of the ‘local’ movement and it has really grown in two decades. Why is it important for a community to have a niche like the marketplace?

Having a visible hub like Hannah Grimes encourages people to give their business idea a try and makes it easy for customers to buy local. Friends and family often give a nudge to local artists, producers and growers to “go to Hannah Grimes.” It is a friendly market that offers all the know-how that you need to get started – and to grow if you want. For existing businesses, it can provide an additional market and the opportunity to learn and grow. It makes it easy for residents and tourists alike to buy locally-produced gifts and everyday items from over 300 producers.

3. Congratulations on the 10th anniversary of the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship! What kind of businesses have been drawn to the center and what do they find there that contributes to their growth?

The Center for Entrepreneurship broadened our business support programs from local producers and growers to all businesses. We work with manufactures, builders, publishers, farmers, artists, service providers, film festival producers, software companies, marketing firms, lawyers, architects and a whole lot more. Here, as well as at the Marketplace, we provide a hub for businesses and nonprofits. They find kindred spirits and a very wide range of resources regardless of their size, stage or sector. As a small community, it does not make sense to specialize, and I think that is a good thing; we have a dynamic cross section of businesses that come here and that benefits everyone.

4. You have some plans for Hannah Grimes in 2016. Can you share them?

We are planning to purchase an 86,000-square-foot industrial building on Marlboro Street in Keene to create the Center for Innovation. In addition to providing more incubating space, it will provide a hub for a more regional approach to economic development and will focus on high quality job creation throughout the region. The City of Keene is rezoning Marlboro Street as an Innovation Zone and planning to upgrade the street. The building itself has some really cool spaces that range from advanced manufacturing space with giant cranes to nice office space. It is a great opportunity to focus on growth from both the startup perspective and by working with existing regional companies.

5. There’s much of which to be proud  in the development of the marketplace and the incubator in the past 20 years. If you could have lunch with Hannah Grimes, what’s the one question you’d like to ask her?

I’d really love a tour of her farm and I’d love to cook that lunch with her. Only the house was remaining when I bought the property and I’d give just about anything to know how it looked. And I’d like to ask her how she spends her day, some gossip on the neighbors, what she grows, and if she could share some recipes. Whoops, was that four?  I’d have a million questions for her.

UNH to Open Advanced Manufacturing Center Thanks to NH Company

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

(Thanks to our partners at the University of New Hampshire for sharing this great news! – Ed.)

The state’s manufacturing industry will get a boost in highly-skilled workers with hands-on experience when the University of New Hampshire opens the John Olson Advanced Manufacturing Center this fall. The center is made possible through the generosity of Charlestown-based Whelen Engineering, which is honoring retiring president John Olson with a $5.3 million gift to the university.

Manufacturing is the largest economic sector in New Hampshire and to help keep it that way, the Olson Center will focus on three areas: High-precision machining, light materials and flexible electronics. The center will help bridge the skills gap in the nation’s $1.7 trillion manufacturing industry and serve as a home for academically derived technology incubators, next-generation manufacturing technologies and a cross-curricular approach to engineering and manufacturing concepts.

Olson graduated from UNH with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1957. Two years later, he began his career at Whelen, which also has a facility in Chester, Conn. He has been Whelen’s president since 1976 and oversaw the opening of the Charlestown facility in 1984. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

“Much of our growth and success has been due to the passion for excellence in engineering that John Olson has fostered within the company,” said George W. Whelen IV, owner of Whelen Engineering, Inc. “John made sure we always looked for a better way and used cutting-edge technology whenever we could. Since he opened the Whelen facility in Charlestown, he has made many connections with the engineering programs at his alma mater. Finding qualified and motivated employees is very important for any business but particularly for an engineering company.”

The center, planned for the former Goss International building on the west edge of campus, will introduce students to innovative manufacturing technologies and allow visualization of manufacturing concepts to complement the skills learned in traditional classroom settings. It will serve as a pipeline for trained, skilled workers who will be able to successfully step into the state’s manufacturing sector with practical knowledge and experience.

Whelen Engineering designs and manufactures high-quality audio and visual warning equipment for the automotive, aviation and mass notification industries around the world. Between its two plants, the company employs more than 1,500 people and is the only maker of emergency warning and lighting equipment to manufacture its products in the U.S.

For the university, the new center will be a boon to its engineering and science programs, as well as other departments.

“We are absolutely delighted with the opportunity that George Whelen IV and Whelen Engineering are affording our students, faculty and the state,” said Sam Mukasa, dean of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. “Manufacturers and various other engineering firms around the state speak of our engineering graduates as smart and well trained, and the Olson Center will give students the very important third piece of their education: practical experience. The center will also foster development of some research projects between faculty and colleagues in the private sector, thereby having an enormous positive impact on the state’s economy.”

One of the largest gifts in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences’ history, this latest donation builds on the history of philanthropy that Whelen Engineering and John Olson have built at UNH. More than $2.5 million has been donated for scholarships and to support UNH’s Tech Camp for students in grades 6 through 12. In 2007, Whelen Engineering donated an outdoor mass-notification system to the Durham campus to be used during emergencies. Whelen’s mass notification systems became required at all nuclear power plants in the wake of the Three-Mile Island disaster, and the country of Denmark purchased the system, installing it at more than 1,200 sites around the country.

For Olson, having his career recognized in this way by the Whelen family is an honor.

“It pleases me to see that UNH students are now going to have a manufacturing facility where they can tinker and innovate the manufacturing of tomorrow,” he said. “I have stated many times that manufacturing was central to our ability to win two world wars. We now have tremendous competition from overseas in manufacturing, and owe it to the next generation to prepare them well to hold their own and keep this country strong. Staying ahead of the competition in innovation and efficiency will be key. I think that UNH students can do that.”

Gov. Hassan Announces the Winners of the 2016 What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? Video Contest

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016


Congratulations to our winners of the 2016 What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? video contest! The competition was stiff this year and every team should be very proud of their productions.

Thank you to our sponsors, Hypertherm; BAE Systems and Velcro USA, whose support makes possible the $1,000 first place; $500 second place and $250 third place awards.

A big thank you to the teachers and advisors who guided the teams and to all the students who took on this challenge and found out really cool things about manufacturing in New Hampshire. Share these videos with your friends and get them thinking about the opportunities advanced manufacturing holds for them in the future right here in the Granite State.

For look at all the videos, click on over to the contest channel.

Lorna Colquhoun
Communications Director
Division of Economic Development