State-sponsored summits push economic development

The New Hampshire Division of Economic Development works closely with the governor’s office to create new opportunities for New Hampshire businesses. In many cases this involves bringing people together to share best practices, common experiences and new ideas.

In order to facilitate this exchange, Gov. Craig Benson unveiled the “Economic Development Hat Trick” at a recent press conference at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

The goals of the program are to build on the state’s manufacturing strength, solidify the telecommunications infrastructure and create a state of entrepreneurial opportunity.

“It’s fitting that we’re talking about setting goals and developing a game plan at the ‘home of the hat trick,’ the Verizon Wireless Arena,” Benson said. “Our team has gathered some excellent information from the business community and is now ready to begin the hard work of plotting a course of action in three areas that are vital to our state’s continued economic growth.”

Following the press conference, Benson kicked off the series of summits with a ceremonial face-off with Manchester Monarchs left winger Jeff Giuliano.

Over the next four months, the Division of Economic Development, the New Hampshire Office of the Governor and a team of public and private partners will coordinate three major statewide summits:

• The second annual Manufacturing Summit to be held Sept. 22 at the Grappone Center in Concord

• A Telecommunications Summit, to be held Oct. 27-28 at the Sheraton Nashua

• The Statewide Entrepreneurial Summit, to be held Dec. 6-7 at the Red Jacket Mountain View in North Conway.

“These summits won’t fit the mold of a typical business meeting,” said New Hampshire Division of Economic Development Director Stuart Arnett. “There’s some real substance here in terms of finding innovative ways to address concerns raised by our business customers. The information gathered and disseminated at the summits will in large part be the economic blueprint for our state.”

Among the economic development initiatives expected to be unveiled at the summits are two new Web portal projects — one specifically geared to the needs of New Hampshire’s manufacturing community and the other geared toward the state’s entrepreneurs.

The manufacturing portal will provide access to best practices and forums on issues such as process engineering, inventory management and lean manufacturing, as well as employee management resources such as competitive benefits management services, health insurance plans and subsidized training opportunities.

“As a partner in the Manufacturing Summit, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership is trying to raise its profile as a resource for manufacturers,” said Manufacturing Extension Partnership Senior Project Manager Don Peterson. “Manufacturers are seeing rapid changes due to globalization, new technology, productivity enhancements and health-care costs, and they need to be aware that their colleagues are experiencing the same changes and by sharing best practices, they can all achieve success.”

The entrepreneurial portal will provide a “quick response” mechanism that is designed to ensure rapid answers to questions posed by Web visitors, opportunities to schedule one-on-one appointments with SCORE counselors, the latest information regarding the $250,000 Start Up New Hampshire Business Plan Competition and an on-line listing of all entrepreneurial workshops offered in the state.

Manufacturing Summit

The Manufacturing Summit will present the recommendations made over the last six months at a variety of sessions that have been held throughout New Hampshire. The sessions were designed to allow manufacturers to share information about best practices and discuss items of mutual concern, such as health-care costs, transportation infrastructure and export opportunities, which were convened by various state and local partners following National Manufacturing Week in February. The recommendations will be unveiled in an action plan along with recommendations from manufacturing CEOs for sustained industry growth.

Four interactive workshops will be held based on manufacturers’ recommendations: “Healthcare Insurance Options”; “Technology Driving Productivity”; “Innovative Strategies for Growing International Markets”; and “Education and Workforce Development — A Vital Partnership for Manufacturing Success.”

The keynote presentation will be delivered by Don Wainwright, chairman of the national Manufacturing Council. Partners in the summit include the Business & Industry Association of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Workforce Opportunity Council, The Knowledge Institute, New Hampshire High Technology Council and New Hampshire Small Business Development Center.

Telecommunications Summit

The New Hampshire Telecommunications Advisory Board released the findings of the 2003 Internet Utilization Survey, which was developed by the board in coordination with RKM Research and Communications, detailing 400 New Hampshire businesses’ observations on Internet speed, price and availability.

It was the second major survey undertaken by the board — the first dealt with high-speed Internet availability.

As a result of the findings, the board, in coordination with state and local partners, organized the Telecommunications Summit. The keynote presentation will be delivered by Edmund J. Thomas, chief of the Office of Engineering & Technology at the Federal Communications Commission. Four interactive workshops will be held: “Controlling IT & Telecom Expenses”; “Spam: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly”; “The Promise & Reality of Emerging Technologies”; and “Internet 2 — The Revolution Begins.”

Partners in this summit include the New Hampshire Telecommunications Advisory Board, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, New Hampshire Telecom Association, New Hampshire Telephone Association, New Hampshire LoGIN and the New Hampshire Internet Service Providers Association.

Entrepreneurial Summit

With a theme of “Creating a State of Entrepreneurial Activity,” the Entrepreneurial Summit is designed to continue the momentum created by the $250,000 Start Up New Hampshire Business Plan Competition, which garnered more than 200 entries, with Woomera Therapeutics, a Lebanon-based company developing a cancer-fighting antibody, capturing the grand prize.

The summit will offer a roundtable discussion featuring the winners of the Start Up New Hampshire Business Plan Competition, who will provide a progress report as well as background into their business ideas. Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner Sean O’Kane will announce the 2004 Commissioner’s Awards for Economic Development Excellence, which are presented to economic development practitioners, business officials and partner organizations who have gone “above and beyond” to build the state’s economy.

Partners in the summit include the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, Public Service of New Hampshire, SCORE, the Knowledge Institute, the Small Business Development Center and many other public and private collaborators to be added.

For more information on any of the summits, call the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development at 271-2341. nhbr

This article was provided by the New Hampshire Business Resource Center, formerly the Office of Business and Industrial Development.

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