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International Calls

Friday, April 27th, 2012

            We’re finishing up a busy week here at the Division of Economic Development that was unique and unusual and promising.

The Chinese Delegation arrived Thursday.


            Very promising.

            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.

            Their tour included a visit to JP Sercel Associates of Manchester and a discussion about our high precision and advanced manufacturing industries.

         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.

            And they are looking for them right here in New Hampshire.



Jobs Comeback

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

In the early spring, on a Monday morning, when you start it off with a groundbreaking ceremony for a 30,000-square-foot addition that is going to bring back 100 manufacturing jobs from China, it’s a good way to start the week.

Congratulations to Watts Water Technologies and the city of Franklin.

NH Making Headlines … in NY?

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

 The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development continues to make headlines – in New York.

For the second time in two weeks, New York media has delved into a story that apparently has people in the Empire State talking.

The Time Union of Albany about New Hampshire’s business recruitment team “courting” one of its companies and suggesting it’s even gone so far as offering an incentive package to come to the land of Live Free or Die.

Business recruiter Cynthia Harrington (Cynthia.Harrington@dred.state.nh.us) is mentioned in this article. Click on the brief video  for the answer to ‘Why Not New Hampshire?’

Albany’s CBS affiliate, WRGB, followed up with a piece Monday that led its 5 p.m. newscast noting that “the recruiters aren’t exactly being shy about it.”

Like many states, New Hampshire has a business recruitment team, one that is active and enthusiastic and gets results. Sure, New Hampshire looks for businesses to come do business here, whether they are interested in expanding or relocating.

What is the message of the business recruitment team? Why New Hampshire is great place for businesses – low tax burden, affordable commercial real estate, an available and skilled labor force, proactive government – in short, the New Hampshire Advantage.

And that, as we’ve seen over the past two weeks, has people talking.

NH Actively Recruits New Business

Friday, February 24th, 2012

New Hampshire courts Albany company

Telecommunications firm is offered incentives to move to Granite State

Times Union
Published 07:49 p.m., Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Could Tech Valley Communications be moving out of Tech Valley?

That’s a possibility after economic development officials in New Hampshire offered the telecommunications firm an incentive package to move there.

The Times Union has obtained a letter written in June to Tech Valley Chief Executive Officer Kevin O’Connor by the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development thanking O’Connor for “considering our state for your business expansion opportunities” and offering “business relocation” assistance. Tech Valley is based on State Street in downtown Albany.

The letter was written by Cynthia Harrington, New Hampshire’s state business recruiter who reportedly helped convince Albany International Corp. of Menands in 2010 to move its headquarters to Rochester, N.H.

O’Connor confirmed Tuesday that New Hampshire is indeed trying to entice the company to move to New Hampshire, where it recently acquired another telecommunications firm called segTEL.

“They put some things on the table that I’d rather not disclose,” O’Connor said. “Telecommunications is a target industry for the state of New Hampshire.”

But O’Connor says even though his board has a fiduciary obligation to consider the offer from the Granite State, he is more inclined to remain in New York, where he is encouraged by the business-friendly agenda of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. O’Connor says he has been in discussions with New York officials about how to keep the business here.

“Our new governor is pretty sophisticated in his approach to economic development,” O’Connor said. “I’d prefer to keep the company in New York, but that decision has not been made.”

Tech Valley has been building a fiber optic communications network across the Capital Region that serves businesses and institutions such as hospitals and colleges. It has also built a wireless Internet system for the city of Albany. The company has 75 local employees and expects to have 100 by the end of the year as it spends between $10 million and $20 million on infrastructure for its customers. The company’s major financial backer is Riverside Partners, a Boston private equity firm.

Christopher Way, the interim director of New Hampshire’s Division of Economic Development, said he cannot discuss Harrington’s interactions with Tech Valley and that all talks with prospects are kept confidential.

“New Hampshire is an attractive place for business expansion opportunities,” Way said. “Cynthia, our business recruiter, does a terrific job assisting companies with their decision-making process.”

 Michael Yevoli, commissioner of development and planning for the city of Albany, said he is working with Tech Valley to keep it downtown. He said in addition to moving out of New York, the company could also move to the suburbs.

“I’m sure that they’re checking their options out,” Yevoli said. “But we want to keep them.”


Ask CJ: Good Communication Key to Good Partnership

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

“Two heads are better than one.” That’s a phrase we have all heard when it comes to finding the solution to a problem. What about when it comes to owning and running a business? Are two heads better than one?

NH Division of Economic Development Seacoast Business Services Specialist Christine Davis

When it comes to starting or running a business, there are so many factors to consider that it can make your head spin. A successful business isn’t just about having a needed product or service. It isn’t just about having the ability to market and sell your product or service. Nor is it just about having the drive and temperament to be an entrepreneur. It’s all those things and it might not just be you making those decisions. Many businesses are owned and managed by two or more individuals. This can be advantageous and successful if done right.

Not everyone has the ability or desire to own and operate a business without partners. Financial constraints alone can prevent someone from maintaining sole ownership of a company. Having one or more partners not only eases that burden, but it also opens up the business to having leadership that possesses a variety of talents and strengths. Matt Benson, a corporate attorney with Cook, Little, Rosenblatt & Manson of Manchester, cited these reasons as some of the major advantages of taking on partners in a business venture.

Benson shared a laundry list of considerations for those contemplating starting a business with one or more partners; however, what he kept coming back to was communication. “Free and open communication” is at the top of his list for a successful partnership. If you have good communication, you can avoid a lot of potential conflict. Benson also stressed the importance of having your basic business goals in alignment. Are you looking to create a lifestyle business or are you looking to grow with an eye toward selling the business? Do your goals, philosophies and business ethics match up? Are your individual strengths complementary, and is there respect for the value that each person brings to the table?

Not surprisingly, the comparison to a marriage was brought up and it makes sense. You will be spending a lot of time together and making decisions together that affect your personal and financial well-being. Open communication as you go through the good and the tough times together is critical. If you can’t do that while maintaining mutual respect, you may be headed for divorce. Even a fantastic partnership eventually will come to an end (retirement, death, disability, etc.) and being prepared for an exit is essential. Having buyout documents with transfer restrictions decided upon before they are needed can avoid conflict not only between leadership but for their families as well.

I spoke with David Lahme and Sam Biddle, partners at Tradeport USA in Somersworth, to get their perspective. Lahme and Biddle went into business together almost 10 years ago and cited numerous reasons why a partnership has worked well for them. Combining funds and their complementary strengths were seen as highly instrumental in their success. Lahme said they have the same goals for the business, which is one of Benson’s basic foundation pieces for a good partnership. Lahme also feels comfortable that he can be away from the business and know it will continue to run smoothly with Biddle at the helm.

Biddle shared his thoughts and added that trust is a key component to a successful partnership. Each partner has individual responsibilities, with Biddle handling operations while Lahme focuses on sales and financials. Biddle said he values having someone to bounce ideas off and admitted, “If I had to do everything, I wouldn’t have a life.”

Having a well thought out business plan and laying out the ground rules at the outset are also a part of Tradeport USA’s continued success. Over the years, they have amended their LLC and are now adding a buy/sell agreement.

Not to be dismissed is having the support of a business partner. According to Lahme, “It is easier to jump off a crevasse with someone else.” That certainly gives new meaning to the phrase, “till death do us part.”

Christine J. Davis works for the N.H. Division of Economic Development as a resource specialist serving businesses in Rockingham and Strafford counties. Her role is to provide support for businesses so they can remain viable and growing entities in the community. She can be reached by e-mail at Christine.Davis@dred.state.nh.us. Davis lives in Exeter with her two daughters. When not performing her work or parenting duties, she can be found volunteering with her girls for the Chamber Children’s Fund, hitting the gym, or spending time with friends and family.

NH Economy Featured on CBS News

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

As Karen Brown of CBS News notes, “New Hampshire has seen first in the nation pay off. The state’s unemployment rate is a low 5.2 percent, exports are at an all-time high, and the state is seeing a more modern manufacturing sector continue to grow — all factors that will be highlighted,” Brown said, “as the nation turns its attention to the first primary.”

The piece that ran on CBS’ Early Show today featured interviews with Governor Lynch and DED Interim Director Chris Way, both talking about the advantages to businesses setting up shop in New Hampshire. The piece also featured Bill Skelley, president and founder of Skelley Medical, who moved his business from Massachusetts to New Hampshire after a chance meeting with Governor Lynch started the ball rolling.

Check out the full piece below, which also talks about why NH being first in the nation for primaries is also good for business. If you’re reading this somewhere that doesn’t show the embedded video below, you can watch it or read an abridged transcript at the CBS News website.

NH 2nd in Broadband Usage

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

According to a new report by the Economics and Statistics Administration and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, New Hampshire ranks second in broadband usage in the country at 78 percent, trailing only Utah at 80 percent.

In response to that report, State Broadband Director Carol Miller has issued the following statement:

“Although there is still work to be done to bring connectivity to rural unserved and underserved areas, this report speaks well for NH as a tech savvy state and our embracing of new technologies.  

NH has had the reputation of a high tech state in past years.  The notion that we were slipping began as more competition for the status materialized.  NH is indeed a hotbed for technologies and our universities and state incentives for business have had a major influence on that designation.  

NH is a great place for technology businesses. Our biggest assets are qualify of life, lower cost of living, and a dedicated team at the Division of Economic Development under the NH Department of Resources and Economic Development.  We have it all right here in NH.”

To see a copy of the report, visit esa.doc.gov/Reports/exploring-digital-nation-computer-and-internet-use-home.

Workshops Announced to Help Veteran Owned Small Businesses Sell to the Government

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Is the federal government one of your customers?  

Last year more than 80 federal agencies and departments purchased in excess of $275 million in goods and services from 235 New Hampshire based small businesses.  109 of these companies were owned by veterans and they accounted for sales to federal agencies totaling more than $50 million.  These purchases had values from the hundreds of dollars up into the millions. 

As the world’s largest buyer of products and services the U.S. Government is committed to purchasing a portion of these from veteran owned and service disabled veteran owned businesses.  How do veterans get to participate in marketing and selling to federal agencies?  While it can seem like a daunting task to add the federal government as a key customer, it is being done by more and more businesses each year.  More importantly, help is available to guide you through the process of identifying and responding to sales opportunities. 

To help you get started in the right direction in navigating the government contracting process, representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) along the NH Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP) will be presenting an overview of how the government contracting process works and how YOU can get started.   These presentations will be made at four – two hour seminars in the months ahead.  The seminars are presented for free to participants however due to space limitations pre-registration is required.

Join us, and discover the programs and services available to help you win in the world of government contracting.

Dates & Locations:

November 9, 2011           Hesser College – Manchester     (1:30 – 3:30 p.m.)

February 1, 2012               Hesser College – Salem                 (1:30 – 3:30 p.m.)

May 2, 2012                        Hesser College – Portsmouth     (1:30 – 3:30 p.m.)

June 20, 2012                     Hesser College – Nashua              (1:30 – 3:30 p.m.)

For registration, questions or additional information contact Rachael Roderick at the U.S. Small Business Administration office in Concord 603-225-1603 email: Rachael.roderick@sba.gov  or  Miguel Moralez – Miguel.Moralez@sba.gov or 603-225-1601.

Ask CJ – Mining for Gold in Government Contracts

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Q: “I have started to expand my business and go after government contracts.  Do you know how I can grow that quicker?  I have been focusing on contracts with the State.”

A: When I first started to learn about government contracting, it totally overwhelmed me.  I was especially intimidated about the idea of doing business with the federal government.  It seemed so elusive and convoluted.  What type of business gets government contracts?  Where do you even start? 

NH Division of Economic Development Seacoast Business Services Specialist Christine J. Davis

I attended a two day conference in Washington, DC a couple of summers ago all about federal contracting and realized that it isn’t all that mysterious or difficult after all.  It does, however, take time and a concerted effort.  Doing business with the government is just like doing business in the private sector; you have to work for it, create and maintain relationships and provide a quality product or service at the right price.  If you abuse the relationship by slacking off on quality or jacking up the price, you will lose that business.  The good news is that the government needs just about every good or service that you might provide.

If you are already doing business with the State of New Hampshire, you should be familiar with the basics but for those that may not be you can visit our website, www.nheconomy.com/ptap to learn about the services our government contracting group offers.  The services listed below highlight the offerings with the NH Procurement Technical Assistance Program:
• Identifying Business Codes (NAICS, SICS, FSC & PSC)
• Registering on all appropriate web sites (CCR, SBA & ORCA)
• Matching a firm’s product or service with that being purchased by the federal government
• Interpretation of solicitations
• Obtaining specifications
• Locating Federal Acquisition Regulations (FARS, DFARS & CFRS)
• Process Management Skills
• GSA – General Services Administration schedules

The first step is to get your business registered and identify the codes that are related to your business.  The PTAP group can help you with this process and the services are free.  They also will help you navigate the system and get through the infamous “red tape” that can be daunting in the beginning.  It is great that you are soliciting the State for business but there are plenty of other government contracting opportunities on the federal level right here in the State of NH.  The Air National Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are just a few federal agencies with a NH presence.
I spoke with the director, Dave Pease, to see what’s new and exciting in government procurement.  Dave and his group work with every type of business at every stage of government contracting.  Since his arrival four years ago the agency has grown in their access to and knowledge of the resources available to the business community.  He strongly suggests that if you worked with them in the past but think you may have outgrown their services that you give them a call and see how they can continue to help your business.  He also mentioned an upcoming “matchmaker” that will take place in Burlington VT http://www.dodneregional.org from October 26th-28th.  It is a great opportunity to get in front of a lot of agencies in a short amount of time.

I spoke with several businesses that sell to the government; American Toners who sells almost exclusively to the government, SmartATI an emerging government contractor and Envirosystems.  I asked all of these women-owned businesses what suggestions or insight they could offer.  Lori Smart of Smart ATI listed her six “P’s” of doing business with the government; Planning, persistence, paperwork, working with prime contractors (to start), past performance and payoff.  Lori said it takes more time and effort than she had envisioned but after several years they are beginning to reap the benefits.  She also said that getting on the General Services Administration (GSA) schedules was a good way for them to advertise their products and services to the government.  The GSA is a tool that can help open doors as it is a list of pre-approved vendors that allows government agencies to do business from $100-$150,000 without going out for open bids.  Of course getting on the schedule requires an intense investment of time.  No free lunches that’s for sure. 

Janice Cobb of American Toners shared that it takes work, time and a willingness to change if you want to go down this avenue.  “You have to be willing to change with the times or you will be dead in the water.”  Petra Karbe of Envirosystems also stated that success comes from offering high quality products or services, excellent service and a competitive price.  Being woman-owned may open doors but you still need to prove you can do the job and do it well.  Apparently doing business with the government isn’t that different than doing business with the private sector after all.

Whether you have been in business for 20 years or just getting started, we have the resources and the expertise to answer your questions. You can e-mail me at Christine.Davis@dred.state.nh.us. I look forward to hearing from you.

Christine J. Davis works for the NH Division of Economic Development as a resource specialist serving businesses in Rockingham and Strafford counties. Her role is to provide the support needed for businesses so that they may remain viable and growing entities in the community. Ms. Davis lives in Exeter with her two daughters.  When not performing her work or parenting duties she can be found on her bike, in her garden or headed down Water Street in Exeter with her girls to get an ice cream.

Inc. Magazine Celebrates 26 Fast Growing NH Companies

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Twenty-six…..that’s the magic number of New Hampshire firms that have made it to Inc Magazine’s list of “5000 Fastest Growing Companies in the U.S.”

What amazed me the most about the Granite State businesses listed were their diversity – you have a gift basket company, some entries from the high tech realm and, yes, even the company that designed this web site.

I hope that you’ll join me in saluting the achievements of the following New Hampshire companies:

NorAm International Partners  – Hudson
Namtek – Bedford     
RevereIT – Nashua     
Rustic Crust – Pittsfield     
RewardsNOW – Dover     
Planet Fitness  – Newington    
Dyn – Manchester     
GourmetGiftBaskets.com  – Londonderry     
Bean Group   – Portsmouth     
Cellular Specialties   – Manchester     
Benefit Strategies  – Manchester     
Digital Prospectors  – Exeter     
Integrated Deicing Services  – MANCHESTER     
TMSi Logistics  – Portsmouth     
MAS Medical Staffing – Manchester     
W.S. Badger Company – Gilsum     
KBW Financial Staffing & Recruiting  – Bedford     
BuyATimeshare.com – Merrimack     
D.R. Guilbeault Air Compressor – Hudson     
Agility Mfg  – Dover     
Trade Wings – Portsmouth     
SilverTech  – Manchester     
North American Equipment Upfitters   – Hooksett     
Highland Forwarding – Bedford     
The Barking Dog  – Exeter     
Favorite Foods – Somersworth   

For more information, visit  http://www.inc.com/inc5000/welcome.

– Steve Boucher, NH Division of Economic Development Communications & Legislative Director