The challenge of growing New Hampshire’s green economy just got more difficult. Federal stimulus funding for the state’s chief eco-friendly business incubator dried up at the end of April. Now, the University of New Hampshire‘s Green Launching Pad program is rooting around for private funding to keep the program going. Although early GLP grant funding went to small start-ups, the last round of federal money actually went to established manufacturers to fund job growth.
And as we’ve previously reported, calculating job creation and other economic impacts of the Green Launching Pad is tricky business.
Recently, Michael McCord of the New Hampshire Business Review spoke with GLP Project Director Venky Venkatachalam. He writes:
“When the Green Launching Pad was developed with a Department of Energy grant, proponents had ambitious goals for it — energy savings, emissions reductions and business and employment growth. These goals would be reached through commercialization of projects focused on energy efficiency, energy conservation, renewable energy or sustainable energy projects.
‘I would give us an A-minus,’ said Venkatachalam, who admits to being biased but frank about his assessment. ‘There are a lot of things we have done very well and other things we could have done better.’
The launching pad aspect of the GLP has been a major success, Venkatachalam said, because all of the companies involved have reached new levels of development.
‘Job creation is one metric (of success). We believe the success comes from the strength of the portfolio and the number of projects these companies are taking part in,” he explained. “You have to be careful creating too many jobs and burning up cash too quickly. The real job creation potential will come in the two to five years.’”