‘Small Business Day’ set at State House

New Hampshire small business owners and executives will have an opportunity next month to hear Gov. John Lynch, key legislators and fellow business leaders speak about important legislative issues that will affect their operations in 2006.

The Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire, the state’s Small Business Development Center and 13 local chambers of commerce will host “Small Business Day at the State House” on Feb. 1 to engage small businesses in public policy discussion and debate.

The event will be held from 7:30 to 11 a.m. at the Tuck Library, New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord.

“Small businesses help drive the New Hampshire economy and yet they face special challenges when it comes to operating successfully and efficiently in New Hampshire,” said George Gantz, BIA chair of the board and senior vice president for Unitil Corp. “Our aim for this program is to give those businesses a bigger voice this year as the New Hampshire Legislature begins its work.”

Sponsored by Public Service of New Hampshire, the event will begin with remarks by Governor Lynch, House Speaker Doug Scamman and Senate President Ted Gatsas, followed by questions from business participants.

Two panel discussions will complete the morning program. The first panel, “Navigating Small Group Health Insurance: What SB 125 Means to You,” will address a bill passed last year that changed the way insurance carriers calculate premiums for the small group market (50 or fewer employees). Panelists include Beth Roberts, vice president of Northern New England operations for Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare of New England; House Commerce Committee Chair Sheila Francoeur; and Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny.

The second panel will provide an overview of state, federal and nonprofit resources available to help small businesses grow and prosper in New Hampshire.

“The Small Business Toolkit: Assistance Programs Available to Small Business” will feature Mary Collins, state director, New Hampshire SBDC; Robert McCarthy, business program specialist, USDA/Rural Development; Zenagui Brahim, director of operations, New Hampshire Manufacturing Extension Program; Hollis McGuire, regional manager, New Hampshire SBDC; and Stuart Arnett, director, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development.

Following the morning session, participants will have an opportunity to meet one-on-one with legislators from their area. Local chambers participating in the event are setting up meetings with lawmakers for small business owners and managers that wish to further discuss particular legislative issues.

Participating chambers to date include Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce; Greater Claremont Chamber of Commerce; Greater Lebanon Chamber of Commerce; Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce; Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce; Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce; Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce; Lake Sunapee Region Chamber of Commerce; Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce; Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce; Newfound Region Chamber of Commerce; Northern White Mountain Chamber of Commerce; and Waterville Region Chamber of Commerce.

There is a $15 fee to attend the event, which includes a continental breakfast. Registration is required.

To register, contact a participating local area chamber or call 603-224-5388, ext. 116. You also may register online at http://www.acteva.com/go/nhbia.

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