Congressional candidate Marilinda Garcia tours ECP

August 21st, 2014 by Lynn

    Second Congressional District candidate Marilinda Garcia toured the Enterprise Center at Plymouth, Friday, Aug. 1.

    PLYMOUTH — Second Congressional District candidate Marilinda Garcia toured the Enterprise Center at Plymouth, Friday, Aug. 1.

    The ECP is a business incubator space, providing a “one stop shop” for businesses throughout the region seeking advice and counseling, services, leased space, mentoring, and networking. The Grafton County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC) constructed the building using $2 million in federal, state and corporate funding; Plymouth State University provides staffing, campus-wide business services and intellectual capital. Garcia said she was impressed with the facility’s success.

    “This is fantastic,” Garcia said. “This is a perfect example of economic vitality that we’re trying to create; not only in our state as a whole, but specifically in this part of the state because it is really needed, so it’s really exciting to see.”

    Garcia, a Salem Republican, has served four terms in the New Hampshire General Court; she was first elected in 2006 at the age of 23. She was the prime sponsor of the New Hampshire Innovation Job Growth Program bill, which enables the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority to facilitate the acquisition of early stage seed capital for New Hampshire entrepreneurs. In photo, Garcia, right, listens to ECP Director Michael Tentnowski explaining the continued growth and success of the facility.

    Gov. Maggie Hassan and Live Free and Start Business Advisory Council Meet with ECP

    August 14th, 2014 by Lynn

    Gov. Maggie Hassan, center, presides over a meeting of the Live Free and Start advisory council. PSU President Sara Jayne Steen, left, welcomed the group to the Enterprise Center at Plymouth, where they discussed job creation strategies for high-tech firms. Jeff Rose, Commissioner of the Department of Resources and Economic Development, is at right. Courtesy Photo.

    PLYMOUTH — New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan and members of the Live Free and Start business advisory group met Aug. 5 at the Enterprise Center at Plymouth (ECP) to learn about the ECP’s activities and to talk with local business leaders about how the state can partner with them on job creation strategies.

    The Live Free and Start initiative was formed last month to help make it easier for high-tech companies to start up. The advisory council’s goal is to spur economic growth.

    The ECP is a business incubator and accelerator, a partnership between the Grafton County Economic Development Council and Plymouth State University; it is home to start-up companies that will have created 18 jobs by September. Gov. Hassan said that he ECP is a great example of job creation, and creating high-tech startups is a goal everyone can support.

    “I want to make sure we’re an attractive place to start businesses. I also want to make sure we’re an attractive place to stay and grow a business,” Hassan said. “Everybody knows the future of our state is with the entrepreneurial spirit of our people.”

    Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen said the success of the ECP partnership dovetails with the Live Free and Start objectives–to create good jobs in the region.

    “Live Free and Start ties well with what we’re doing here,” said Steen. “We too want to make central and northern New Hampshire home for high-tech businesses. And if we want those businesses to locate here, we need to talk about innovation, and bringing government, education and private businesses together.”

    Those attending the meeting suggested New Hampshire needs to improve its internet connectivity and cell phone service, particularly in rural areas, and create business-ready infrastructure, such as building space, to attract entrepreneurs. Leaders discussed the importance of education, bridge funding for businesses, and health care in rural communities.

    The Live Free and Start Advisory Council is comprised of high-tech business leaders and entrepreneurs and includes representation from each of the state’s geographic regions.

    Hassan hosts ‘Live Free and Start’ roundtable

    August 5th, 2014 by Lynn

      By BOB MARTIN | Aug 06, 2014

      Plymouth — Gov. Maggie Hassan met with representatives of businesses from Plymouth and northern New Hampshire communities at the Enterprise Center at Plymouth State University, where she hosted a Live Free and Start Business Roundtable on Tuesday afternoon.

      The meeting involved a conversation between the governor, PSU staff, small-business owners and local entrepreneurs as well as members of the Live Free and Start advisory council. Live Free and Start is an initiative that was launched in June by the governor’s office, Business Finance Authority, and the Department of Resources and Economic Development. It is aimed at creating jobs in New Hampshire by making it easier for high-tech companies to start up.

      This was the second roundtable discussion of its kind, but the first in Plymouth. The advisory council works to address concerns that are raised by the state’s high-tech businesses, which includes the need to modernize business regulations and expand technology used throughout the state.

      PSU President Sara Jayne Steen stressed the importance of the meeting.

      “In [Hassan's] state of the state message, she talked about the importance of innovation, about the economy, small business creating jobs and what it meant, and last month created the Live Free and Start advisory concept,” Steen said. “It brings together a lot of partners doing what we are also doing in bringing together partners to work on behalf of small businesses to bring education, public and private, and government together.”

      Steen said that it was a perfect chance for people to compare the issues that they are confronting in high-tech jobs so Hassan could get a feel of the common concerns from those in the central and northern parts of the state.

      “This is really a priority for me, all of the leaders of state government, and the Business Finance Authority,” Hassan said.

      Hassan said that in her first 18 months in office, she spent a lot of time with businesses and focused on building a stronger workforce. This included making sure young people could afford to go to college by investing in scholarships, as well as focusing on early STEM education to ensure they are ready when they go onto higher education. She said this is to make sure that they are developing a 21st century workforce as well as modernizing as a state.

      “There’s a lot more to do, whether it is energy costs or implementation of health care reform,” Hassan said. “No matter what you think of it, there’s a lot of work to do.”

      Hassan also said that they have focused on transportation infrastructure and are working on a number of measures to foster private investment in the state to encourage businesses to start up and grow.

      Hassan said that New Hampshire has always been a good place for startups, but recently she feels it may have lost its edge. She said that the whole concept behind Live Free and Start is to bring together business leaders to address concerns and ensure New Hampshire is an attractive place to not only start a business, but for businesses to stay and thrive.

      She acknowledged that the state needs to have modernized business regulations, as well as improved technology for businesses to interact. Business leaders tended to have similar requests and concerns as they spoke to the governor.

      Kevin Low, the founder of Secure Network Services in Littleton, said that since 2011, he has seen plenty of growth. However, he said that one thing is obvious: in the North Country, they need more broadband Internet. This was a common theme throughout the meeting, which was acknowledged by Hassan.

      Rich Dion, who is a retired intelligence officer, is building a team of people to bring some of the access to people in the FBI, Secret Service, or other agencies who can help law enforcement and first responders by giving access to these people. He said that he came to Plymouth from Piermont because of Internet access and cellphone service.

      “The state needs very aggressive connectivity that people can depend on, as well as cell service,” Dion said. “I think those are solvable problems from the technological point of view.”

      Obstacles that were brought forth in the discussion included finding quality staff coming out of college who are ready for the technological world and people trained to do the work needed. Dion said it would be helpful to have an aggressive training program. He added that the state should pay attention to sharing information with businesses starting up to help them through their process.

      Dan Boynton of iNET Communications said that for his industry, the biggest thing he sees is that there is no course for telecommunications in the higher education system. He said that a good place for it would be in the IT department to deal with newer technologies.

      Other areas of concern were getting loans, receiving gap funding, and health care.

      Hassan was joined by Jeff Rose, who serves as the commissioner of the Department of Resources and Economic Development, and Liz Gray, who is leading the initiative. During the meeting they were all jotting down notes and assured business leaders that they would be taking their comments into account, and encouraged them to stay in touch.

      “I think we have begun to make great progress,” Hassan said.

      Republican Gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein tours ECP

      July 31st, 2014 by Lynn

        COURTESY: Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein, right, meets PSU President Sara Jayne Steen, left, and PSU Provost Julie Bernier, center, at the Enterprise Center at Plymouth during his July 22 tour of the facility.

        PLYMOUTH — New Hampshire Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein toured the Enterprise Center at Plymouth July 22.

        The ECP is a business incubator space, providing a “one stop shop” for businesses throughout the region seeking advice and counseling, services, leased space, mentoring, and networking. The Grafton County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC) constructed the building using $2 million in federal, state and corporate funding; Plymouth State University provides staffing, campus-wide business services and intellectual capital. Havenstein said the partnership between PSU and GCEDC is success story.

        “As a former business leader I certainly appreciate what you’re doing… I think the ECP represents a model that needs to replicated more and more across our state,” said Havenstein. “As a state, we’ve fallen from 14th in the nation in new business starts down to 35th in the past 15 years. This business incubator idea is a great way to reverse that trend.”

        PSU President Sara Jayne Steen noted since the ECP opened last fall, 21 PSU students have interned at ECP and five have turned those internships into full-time jobs.

        “The businesses here have already created 13 new jobs in this region, and I’m proud to say Plymouth State students have helped create this success,” Steen said.

        Before running for elected office, Havenstein was the CEO of BAE Systems, one of New Hampshire’s largest employers. He has also been active in furthering science and engineering education, having acted as chairman of FIRST, a non-profit that inspires young people to be leaders in science and technology. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and served 28 years in the U.S. Marines.

        Republican gubernatorial candidate Havenstein tours ETC

        July 24th, 2014 by Lynn

           

          Photo by: COURTESY N.H. REPUBLICAN gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein, right, meets PSU President Sara Jayne Steen, left, and PSU Provost Julie Bernier, center, at the Enterprise Center at Plymouth during his July 22 tour of the facility.

          PLYMOUTH — New Hampshire Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein toured the Enterprise Center at Plymouth July 22.

          The ECP is a business incubator space, providing a “one stop shop” for businesses throughout the region seeking advice and counseling, services, leased space, mentoring, and networking.

          The Grafton County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC) constructed the building using $2 million in federal, state and corporate funding; Plymouth State University provides staffing, campus-wide business services and intellectual capital.

          Havenstein said the partnership between PSU and GCEDC is success story.

          “As a former business leader I certainly appreciate what you’re doing… I think the ECP represents a model that needs to replicated more and more across our state,” said Havenstein. “As a state, we’ve fallen from 14th in the nation in new business starts down to 35th in the past 15 years. This business incubator idea is a great way to reverse that trend.”

          PSU President Sara Jayne Steen noted since the ECP opened last fall, 21 PSU students have interned at ECP and five have turned those internships into full-time jobs.

          “The businesses here have already created 13 new jobs in this region and I’m proud to say Plymouth State students have helped create this success,” Steen said.

          Before running for elected office, Havenstein was the CEO of BAE Systems, one of New Hampshire’s largest employers.

          He has also been active in furthering science and engineering education, having acted as chairman of FIRST, a non-profit that inspires young people to be leaders in science and technology.

          He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and served 28 years in the U.S. Marines.

           

           

          Should Concord host a business incubator? Wait, what’s a business incubator?

          July 13th, 2014 by Lynn

            By SARAH PALERMO
            Monitor staff

            Did you know the best-selling software program for property appraisers and assessors is made by a company in Plymouth?

            The company, which has grown from seven to 12 employees in the past eight months, is an anchor member of the Enterprise Center at Plymouth, or ECP, a business incubator space sponsored by Plymouth State University and the Grafton County Economic Development Council.

            ECP is the newest member of the New Hampshire Business Incubator Network, which includes locations in Conway, Durham, Hanover, Keene, Manchester and Portsmouth.

            “We basically have the state covered,” said ECP Executive Director Michael Tentnowski. “Of course, there’s a void between Manchester and Plymouth called Concord. I didn’t do a demographic profile, but it would seem like a natural to me. There is always room for a well thought out, progressive incubator.”

            That’s exactly what some Concord-area officials think, too. They visited the Plymouth center last week with an eye toward possibly creating a similar space here.

            But the first thing to know about incubator spaces is they are more than just space.

            The Plymouth center offers Grafton County startups access to high-speed internet service as well as access to experienced business professionals, like Tentnowski, who has been in the business development field for more than 20 years. He’s able to answer questions, or find an expert in the community who can.

            And for some entrepreneurs, having access to peers is almost as valuable as a fast computer and a full Rolodex.

            Allison Grappone lives in Concord but commutes to AlphaLoft in Manchester, where she works on growing her new business, Nearby Registry. It’s an online gift registry service that connects consumers with independent shops who might not have the time to run their own registry services.

            When Grappone won the statewide Start-up Challenge contest in 2011, her prize package included mentoring at AlphaLoft, an incubator organization with four spaces in Manchester, Durham and Portsmouth.

            “Honestly, it reduced a lot of the barriers to starting up a business. I was surrounded by people who were asking similar questions to what I needed, or they had asked them in the past,” she said.

            As she writes a request for proposals for software work, she can have a web developer at the desk around the corner review the language. And the developer can look over the estimates candidates send back, so Grappone knows what’s a good deal.

            There are lunch-and-learn sessions with lawyers and human resource professionals and accountants. Local investors visit often to meet with entrepreneurs and are willing to listen to and help refine pitches, even if a company’s not ready for outside funding, Grappone said.

            If a center opened in Concord, she’d consider switching locations only if the programs offered matched her needs.

            “Anybody can rent an office anywhere. When you’re starting a business, you want a space filled with smart people willing to give of their experience and time and mentor others. These are people who aren’t looking for their next sales lead, they’re looking to participate in this enterprise so the business environment around them gets better,” said Marc Sedam, vice chairman of the board of directors for AlphaLoft.

            “Physical location is the very last thing someone should look at when thinking about an incubator. You want to know, who’s in it, what kind of help and support do they offer?”

            Sedam is also executive director of UNHInnovation. His office manages and promotes intellectual property developed by the university, and creates partnerships between UNH and businesses. UNH contributes about $300,000 annually to the centers, and operating with one leadership team reduced redundancies, Sedam said.

            Until this summer, AlphaLoft’s four locations were run by different groups. But last month, they all combined forces – and budgets.

            “What we don’t want as a state is to Balkanize, where there is an incubator every 10 miles. We’re not Cambridge. There’s not enough activity to split into tiny pieces. That’s a way to make sure no one’s successful,” he said.

            There are still several questions for advocates to answer before an incubator in Concord could be successful.

            The project in Plymouth was about 10 years in the making – from conception through feasibility studies, location scouting and construction.

            “You can’t just say I’m going to build something and hope somebody shows up,” Tentnowski said. “Unless you do a feasibility study and an asset inventory, it’s not proper planning.”

            He told the group from Concord that last week, and they heard him, loud and clear, they said.

            Speaking after their tour, Steve Caccia, vice president of student affairs at NHTI – and the school’s recent interim president – Tim Sink, president of the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce, and Byron Champlin, a city councilor and a member of the Concord Economic Development Advisory Council, all said this is a project in its infancy, but they are eager to learn more about incubators.

            “Generally speaking, there’s a high incidence of companies that sling shot off of incubator spaces to stay in their local community and grow there. Why would we not want that?” Champlin said. “My concern is we might be a bit behind the curve (of other centers around the state), but we can learn from their experiences and lessons to develop, if we go this route, a really strong contender.”

            NHTI would be interested in joining the partnership to offer professors as experts where needed, and to gain internship opportunities for students, Caccia said.

            “I don’t think we would have the power or the expertise or the resources to do it on our own, but the more resources and the more local assets that are vested in it, the more successful it could possible be.

            “Anecdotally, my gut’s telling me if we did it, we could make it work,” he said. He thinks the chamber and the city might be able to find grants to fund a feasibility study.

            “But it’s not a case of ‘if you build, it they will come.’ You’ve got to ask all the questions first,” he added.

            (Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

             

            U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte visits Enterprise Center at Plymouth

            June 5th, 2014 by Lynn

               

              Left to right, Mark LeClair, Grafton County Economic Development Corporation, Mark Scarano, Grafton County Economic Development Corporation, PSU President Sara Jayne Steen, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Michael Tentnowski, ECP Director and PSU Business faculty present Ayotte with an engraved brick in appreciation for her support of economic development efforts in the Lakes Region

              PLYMOUTH — New Hampshire U.S Sen. Kelly Ayotte visited the Enterprise Center at Plymouth (ECP) May 29 and said the partnership it represents and job creation potential is impressive.

              The ECP, located at One Bridge St., opened last fall at full capacity, providing fledgling businesses with a state-of-the-art facility. The ECP is a business incubator space, providing a “one stop shop” for businesses throughout the region seeking advice and counseling, services, leased space, mentoring, and networking. The Grafton County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC) constructed the building using $2 million in federal, state and corporate funding; Plymouth State University provides staffing, campus-wide business services and intellectual capital. Sen. Ayotte said the partnership between PSU and GCEDC is working.

              “It’s a great facility that is bringing the private sector and the University together,” said Ayotte, who serves on the Senate Commerce committee. “I think it’s bringing everyone together to create opportunities for new businesses and more jobs for the area.”

              PSU President Sara Jayne Steen also discussed the GCEDC’s important partnership with PSU.

              “PSU’s mission includes economic and workforce development for the region,” Steen said. “We’re very pleased to have the Senator here because we believe what all of our partners are doing here makes a huge difference to this region.”

              GCEDC Chief Executive Officer Mark Scarano presented Sen. Ayotte with an engraved brick marking her visit and thanking her for her support of economic development; the brick also commemorates the Richelson family, which began a business on the ECP site nearly 100 years ago.

              Unique features of the ECP include a sales skills development office, video production room and space dedicated to professional focus group services. The ECP also acts as a headquarters for an enhanced business outreach effort in central New Hampshire by PSU faculty, staff and students.

              Enterprise Center to host next Chamber Business After Hours event

              March 20th, 2014 by Lynn

                PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth Regional Chamber of Commerce will host the next Business After Hours networking event at the Enterprise Center at Plymouth on March 27, from 5-7 p.m., in the large conference room on the first floor. Local, regional, and state business resources will be on hand to talk with business owners and share how their organizations help businesses develop and grow.

                For this special event, the Chamber has assembled the various resources available to businesses in central New Hampshire. Those in attendance will be representatives from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE, Grafton County Economic Development Council (GCEDC), and Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED).

                Also present will be Plymouth State University organizations that work closely with local businesses to offer much needed assistance including the Student Design Company which provides graphic design services; Small Business Institute® (SBI) which offers in-depth business studies including business plans, feasibility studies, and other specialized plans; Marketing Association at Plymouth State (MAPS) which works with area businesses on projects and initiatives; and a representative from the Global Education Office which helps to coordinate student internships with businesses the community.

                Don’t miss this informative event and the best networking in town!

                This business-networking event, conducted by the Plymouth Regional Chamber, is part of their active support of the regional businesses and is possible through the generous support of key area businesses and professionals, the Enterprise Center at Plymouth, and is made possible by a USDA Rural Development Grant.

                The Plymouth Regional Chamber of Commerce serves the business community by promoting the greater Plymouth area as a unique place to live, work, and play; recognizing its business, social, and economic opportunities. For more information about Chamber events, or the Plymouth Regional Chamber of Commerce you may contact the office at 536-1001, or email info@plymouthnh.org.

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                Kuster talks economic development at PSU

                January 17th, 2013 by Michael

                  Enterprise Center to host follow-up seminar on the hiring process

                  December 20th, 2012 by Michael

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