Look up Jamie Coughlin and find the words 'start-up ecosystem'
CEO and Entrepreneur in Residence at the abi Innovation Hub on Elm Street in Manchester, he shows up anytime there's a chance to promote New Hampshire as the place to bring business ideas to fruition.
The ubiquitous Coughlin was a panelist at a statewide conference on international trade in December; the keynote speaker at the 12th annual Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce Infrastructure Summit in October; and a key force behind the Tech-Out competition that awarded $100,000 in start-up capital to promising enterprises in September.
As leader of the "Live Free and Start" movement in New Hampshire, he doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk, having started his own web-based enterprise, plusgrace.com, which helps people launch campaigns to raise prayers and money for their favorite causes.
Coughlin is using the abi Innovation Hub as a platform from which to spread the entrepreneurial gospel far and wide. When he went to work for the Amoskeag Business Incubator in 2011, the nonprofit organization already had a 14-year history as a joint venture between the city of Manchester and Southern New Hampshire University, helping to create jobs by providing a launching pad to get young companies off the ground, with space and technical assistance.
Hired in 2010 as entrepreneur-in-residence and vice president of strategic initiatives, Coughlin was part of the initiative to rebrand the organization as the abi Innovation Hub and was soon named CEO.
Under Coughlin's leadership, an effective but low-profile business incubator has become Ground Zero in the effort to brand New Hampshire as "The Start-Up State," a phrase first used in a Boston Globe article in August about New Hampshire building a tech cluster in Boston's shadow.
"As the world flattens out because of technology, people will move from those hubs that cost more to places like New Hampshire, as long as we have some capital and community," Coughlin said, "and that's what we have now."