Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kiva Co-Founder in Portsmouth, May 5th

I'll be moderating an event next month with Jessica Jackley-Flannery. She's a co-founder of Kiva, the person-to-person micro-lending Web site that enables people to lend directly to entrepreneurs in the developing world. By 2010, Kiva expects to have facilitated $100 million worth of loans.

If you're interested in micro-lending and social entrepreneurship, this *free* event will likely be up your alley.

It runs May 5th, 5:30 to 7 PM at the Portsmouth (NH) Public Library, with a mixer afterward at the Portsmouth Brewery.

If you plan to attend, you need to RSVP to meagan@borealisventures.com.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NH Wants to Wine and Dine Ya

This press release from the New Hampshire Office of Economic Development struck me as funny, so I'll share the first couple paragraphs...

    Visiting Companies to Receive First Class Treatment
    NH Businesses Extend “Open Invitation” to MA Counterparts

    NASHUA, NH – The New Hampshire business community is making Massachusetts companies an offer they can’t refuse – a chauffeured limo ride and whirlwind tour complete with lunch, hockey tickets and an overnight hotel stay, all for the small price of exploring the business advantages offered by the Granite State.

    The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development’s Business Resource Center joined with a group of local businesses at the Radisson Hotel Nashua this morning to unveil the “Open Invitation” initiative, a new business recruitment program aimed at attracting Massachusetts firms to the state.

    As part of the initiative, a chauffeured limo provided by Capital City Limousine will drive a Massachusetts business prospect from the border to a special luncheon at a Common Man Restaurant location. After a discussion with a New Hampshire business recruiter, the prospect will be given an overview of New Hampshire’s business atmosphere before being led on a guided tour of available properties. Later, the company owner will have the opportunity to ski at Cannon Mountain or take in a Manchester Monarchs game before spending a restful evening at the Radisson Hotel Nashua.

    “The Open Invitation initiative is a tremendous partnership between the state and a group of dedicated private sector partners,” said New Hampshire Business Resource Center Director Roy Duddy. “At absolutely no cost to New Hampshire taxpayers, these businesses have presented us with a creative way to reach out to Massachusetts firms that are interested in expanding or relocating to our state. What better way to attract new companies and secure new jobs than to show New Hampshire’s at its finest?”

    ...New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Communications and Legislative Director Steve Boucher said that with the current economic downturn and need for creative business recruitment ideas, he feels that the time is right for the “Open Invitation.”

    “We have a tremendous value proposition to present to Massachusetts companies as well as businesses throughout the United States,” he said. “In addition to being named the ‘Most Livable State’ for the past five years, we have a tremendous tax advantage and a government that is completely business friendly. We’re a state that is proud to say that we welcome your business and will work hard to support you in any way possible.”

    Over the next week, the Business Resource Center will mail special “open invitation” letters to over 800 Massachusetts companies to complement radio ads being broadcast over Lowell-based WCAP. In addition, the Center has also announced the launch of “nhopeninvitation.com,” a Web site that details New Hampshire incentive programs, cultural amenities and a state-to-state cost comparison.....

Free skiing? The Manchester Monarchs? Man, they are *aggressive* about their economic development up there in the Granite State.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

NH Senate Candidates Will Talk Innovation, Next Monday

This event is geared to TechNet members and students at the University of New Hampshire, but I'm told that any other interested parties are welcome on a space-available basis.

    Our Future in the Innovation Century: An Evening with U.S. Senate Candidates Jeanne Shaheen and John Sununu

    Monday, October 20th
    University of New Hampshire
    Huddleston Ballroom
    73 Main Street
    Durham, NH

    Arrive: 4:00 – 4:45 pm
    Program: 5:00 – 7:30 pm

    You are invited to participate in a unique forum on the Innovation Economy with former Governor Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Senator John Sununu, candidates for the one of the nation’s most competitive U.S. Senate races.

    The event will feature consecutive, individualized one-hour forums focused on the issues of the economy, energy and green jobs, entrepreneurship, and economic insecurity. A centerpiece of the forums will be dialogue with UNH students and questions from New Hampshire business leaders.

    Seating is limited. To reserve your seat, please email adurkin@technet.org no later than October 17th. Parking will be available in Lot C. To view the UNH parking map, see http://www.unh.edu/transportation/visitor/map.pdf

Sununu is an MIT-trained mechanical engineer who once worked for inventor Dean Kamen; Shaheen once talked about how much she loves e-mailing on her BlueBerry (OK, this was back in 2001, but still.) In 2007, Sununu was the only New England senator to vote against lifting the Bush administration's ban on funding stem cell research. Wonder if that will come up...

Hoping this gets recorded or blogged and posted online somewhere...

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Future of Tech in New England

I hauled up to Bedford, NH this morning for a breakfast event put on by the NH High Tech Council and the NH College and University Council, part of their "Forum on the Future" series.

The message I took home: New Hampshire is thinking harder than the other New England states about how to remain competitive and retain the smart young people who grow up here, or come here to get an education.

UNH economist Ross Gittell kicked things off with a presentation: tech workers in NH earn an average of $75K a year... compared to $26K for people who work in retail...and $43K as an overall state-wide average.

But... NH tech employment seems to have peaked in 2000; today's level (48,756) is a bit lower than it was in the early 1990s.

Also, the entire New England region, Gittell said, is losing young people.

The current lock-down on credit will likely have a dramatic impact on high-tech, he predicted... financing will be in short supply for start-up companies (I suspect he was focused on non-venture capital backed start-ups)...and fewer businesses will be making investments in new hardware or software.

Gittell ended by pointing to two growth areas for the future:

    > Healthcare IT and defense (two "stable industries," as he termed them)

    > Green businesses (a growth industry)

We then had a panel discussion with a number of NH execs. I asked them what one issue we ought to focus on to ensure that tech continues to prosper in NH (and the wider New England region).

The two things we spent the most time talking about:

1. How do we create a stronger connection between students and the innovation economy (through internships, company visits, entrepreneurs and execs visiting campuses, etc.)?

2. How can we better spread the word outside of the region about all the innovative things that happen inside the region? That'd help attract both people and businesses.

(For once, no one was blaming VCs for being too timid and risk-averse, or complaining that no one in New England ever networks...)

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