N.H. seeks to launch state defense industry consortium

The New Hampshire International Trade Resource Center is launching a consortium next month that aims to unite the roughly 300 New Hampshire companies that work in the aerospace and defense industry.

The New Hampshire Aerospace and Defense Export Consortium has the goal of helping defense and aerospace companies from all around the state to increase their foreign exports.

"I knew that we had companies in all different points in the supply chain — I just didn't realize how many there were, just about 300," said Tina Kasim, program manager for the ITRC at the state Department of Resources and Economic Development.

"That's a good number for us to start with," she added, saying the timing is right for such a consortium.As domestic sales lag because of cutbacks in the defense industry — including potential federal cuts related to the so-called sequestration — "we know there are opportunities internationally, and we want to give our companies the chance to experience that and balance out their business cycles," said Kasim.

The consortium will be funded through a $300,000 federal State Trade and Export Promotion program grant that the state received last year to help New Hampshire businesses to begin or to increase their exporting.

The consortium will be especially beneficial to small companies that don't have the time or resources to research exporting opportunities by providing them with marketing support, market research and mentorship, said Kasim.

"For small companies that haven't even ever exported, we'll have other exporters in the group that will be able to guide them through the process," she said.

The trade center is planning two free presentations next week to introduce the consortium: Tuesday, March 5 at 10 a.m. at Great Bay Community College, Portsmouth; and Thursday, March 7 at 1 p.m. at the DRED's offices in Concord.

For more information about the consortium, or to RSVP to attend a presentation, contact Kasim at 603-271-8444 or tina.kasim@dred.state.nh.us

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