Liveblog! Tech and Business Leaders Talk Recruitment At NHDRED’s Annual Meeting

Patrick Clark of Burstpoint Networks speaks with Jamie Coughlin before the event.

From 11:15 to noon today, three leaders of innovation and business in New Hampshire will be discussing employee and business recruitment in the state.  We’ll be liveblogging the event, as part of our ongoing coverage of New Hampshire’s simultaneously shrinking workforce and growing tech sector.

The speakers are: Patrick Clark of Burstpoint Networks, a Massachusetts tech company that recently expanded to Merrimack, NH; Jamie Coughlin, CEO of abi Innovation Hub in Manchester;  and Marie Josee Vaillant of Kheops International, a wholesale gift company in Colebrook.

12:00 The session has concluded.

11:59 An audience member says when it comes to recruiting talent, the quality of the schools, especially primary and secondary schools, is essential.

11:57 Clark says as far as policy is concerned, health care and taxes are the most important issues for incoming businesses.

11:52 Coughlin says look to Boulder, CO. “They started doing a really good job of branding [Boulder]. ‘I don’t want to be another Silicon Valley,’ Coughlin said, referring to the “Silicon Millyard” concept. “There’s a lot of noise. How do we do something that has the ‘Wow’ factor?” Coughlin asks.

11:51 Moderator Scott Spradling asks: What should New Hampshire do to be more attractive to businesses and employees?

11:50 Patrick Clark says he thinks the talent in New Hampshire and quality of life, along with access to Boston are all reasons why he’s loved living in NH for the last 20 years, and is enthusiastic about recruiting employees here for Burstpoint.

11:49 Vaillant says she thinks French Canadians will find the North Country to offer a strong community of other french-speakers as well as great workers.

11:44 Speakers agree that reaching out to the state’s University and Community College Systems can be slow-going, but is important.

11:38 Coughlin says the answer to New Hampshire’s graying workforce and out-migration of young people is communication: get the word out that New Hampshire has a demand for talent.

11:35 Health Care Costs: Clark also says a big speed-bump to moving to New Hampshire was the state’s high health care coverage costs. He says this is a legislative issue, referring to legislation over health care exchanges. “If we are going to attract early stage companies into New Hampshire, we’ve got to fix that problem. The last thing we want to do is spend our early stage capital on health care instead of R and D.”

11:34 Clark says it would have been cheaper to stay in MA for the next 12-14 months, when it comes to taxes, because NH’s tax advantages for businesses aren’t existant for early-stage not-yet profitable firms.

11:32 Patrick Clark of Burstpoint says his primary factor in locating in Merrimack was talent. Heis company will be hiring a lot of software engineers and was encouraged by UNH’s investment in increasing engineering students.

11:30 Marie Josee Vaillant of Kheops International, who moved her business to Colebrook from Quebec about 10 years ago, says one big difference between doing business in NH and Quebec is income taxes. It’s not the money, she says, so much as the paper work that’s easier.

11:27 Coughlin says Hanover NH’s Venture firm, Borealis Ventures has a new Granite Fund worth $30 million, with support from state government. StateImpact has a story on this!

11:26 Coughlin says: we must do a better job of exposing students in NH to entrepreneurial opportunities and capital resources.

11:25 NH is well posiitioned to become a startup 2.0 destination, Coughlin says. The one challenge is communicating this to the rest of the world.

11:24 Coughlin asks: how do we make people inside and outside NH more aware of economic and entrepreneurial opportunities in the state? How do we get more eyeballs on NH?

11:22 Jamie Coughlin says abi innovation hub is trying to create the kind of innovative entrepreneurial environment that cities like Boston, New York and Silicon Valley enjoy.


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