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Ask the Expert: Collaboration is key for entrepreneurs and organizations that support them

By EMILY BOLTON PENASKOVIC
October 02. 2018 8:51PM




In speaking with local entrepreneurs, a common piece of feedback is that New Hampshire fosters an impressively collaborative business environment, particularly when compared with innovation hubs in other parts of the country.

Collaboration is an important component of entrepreneurship and can positively impact any startup ecosystem. Information sharing, developing a robust network and gaining access to resources are just a few positive impacts that collaboration can have. Through their recent integration, three New Hampshire organizations that each have a long-standing history of supporting local startups and encouraging collaboration are now leading by example.

Over the past several months, the New Hampshire Tech Alliance (formerly known as the New Hampshire High Tech Council) has integrated two other New Hampshire organizations, Alpha Loft and Live Free and Start, to become part of the alliance.

This is excellent news for local entrepreneurs as this recent integration will encourage collaboration, enhance the resources provided to startups and strengthen New Hampshire’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. While these three organizations have worked closely together for several years by offering complementary services and promoting each other’s events and programs, this formal integration reflects a significant effort to strengthen the value proposition for innovative companies at all stages.

New Hampshire Tech Alliance

The alliance is a statewide technology association that has supported Granite State businesses for more than 30 years. It is no surprise that the technology industry and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in New Hampshire have both changed dramatically since the alliance’s inception. Similarly, the alliance has undergone significant growth and change, particularly in the last few years. Most recently, the alliance rebranded by updating its name and launching a new website (www.nhtechalliance.org).

The alliance has several programs that are geared toward entrepreneurs, including its Entrepreneur of the Year event and TechOut, a startup competition that identifies local entrepreneurs and connects them to investment capital awards. The alliance has previously been largely focused on supporting New Hampshire’s larger, later-stage companies. The integration of Alpha Loft and Live Free and Start reflects a concerted effort to provide additional support and resources to companies at all stages, startups included. The alliance’s recently updated mission is to support companies at every stage of growth and development and to nurture a vibrant tech ecosystem by building partnerships, enhancing knowledge and shaping public policy.

Alpha Loft

For several years, Alpha Loft has played a leading role in developing New Hampshire’s startup ecosystem. Alpha Loft provides support and resources to entrepreneurs, helps accelerate the development of their early-stage businesses and improves startups’ prospects for successfully launching and scaling.

Alpha Loft has significantly expanded its reach by creating New Hampshire’s first startup accelerator. Through its Accelerate NH program, Alpha Loft works with small cohorts of startups and provides participants with weekly educational courses, mentorship, work space and personalized business advice.

For newer entrepreneurs, Alpha Loft offers its Startup Fundamentals program, which provides intensive instruction on many fundamental aspects of building a startup. In addition to these flagship programs, Alpha Loft offers office hours, industry-specific talks and presentations, and startup-focused networking events.

Live Free and Start

Live Free and Start’s mission is to make New Hampshire an even better place for innovative businesses to start, grow and succeed. Founded in 2014, Live Free and Start is focused on expanding startups’ access to capital, modernizing business regulations and marketing New Hampshire’s technology ecosystem.

More generally, Live Free and Start provides startups with the resources and connections needed to build a successful business, including educating startups on the many different funding options available. In November, the Speed Venture Summit, a business matchmaking event, will bring together early-stage companies, regional investors and tech influencers through speed pitching sessions.

Startups should take note of the many programs, resources and events offered through the alliance, especially with the latest initiatives. The collaboration will be significantly enhanced and the alliance’s positive impact on the startup ecosystem will grow exponentially, providing further incentives for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses.

Emily B. Penaskovic is a corporate attorney at Cook, Little, Rosenblatt & Manson. She advises entrepreneurial clients. Emily can be reached at epenaskovic@clrm.com.


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