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September 16. 2013 9:48PM

New Hampshire Business Nerwsreel

Kuster backs STEP program expansion

WASHINGTON — Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., on Monday introduced legislation to extend and expand the State’s Trade and Export Promotion program (STEP), which has helped dozens of Granite State companies expand their exports and create jobs.

“Since its inception, the STEP program has helped companies in New Hampshire and around the country grow and send their products all around the world. Extending and expanding this program will help even more Granite State businesses export their goods, create middle class jobs and grow our economy,” Kuster said.

Launched in 2010, the STEP program was created to help grow the number of businesses exporting their goods and to increase the value of U.S. exports on the global market.

The program, which will expire on Sept. 30 without Congressional action, helps businesses attend international trade shows, supports export training programs and assists with the development of international marketing materials. Kuster’s Small Business Growth Through Exports Act would extend the program for another three years, and double the federal funding available each year from $30 million to $60 million.

New Hampshire has received nearly $600,000 in federal funds to assist more than 60 companies in better marketing their products and finding new business partners around the world.

“The STEP grant has been a huge help to us,” said Paul Vermette, president of Tech Resources, Inc., a Milford defense firm, which is using a STEP grant to help launch a website for a new line of communications technology for military aircraft and ground vehicles. “We’ve been around for 35 years now, but we don’t have a very large presence on the Internet. This funding is going to have a big impact helping us reach possible customers around the world.”

OLK 12, a Canterbury-based education technology firm that provides resources and support to academic institutions around the world, was also a grant recipient.

“This STEP funding has absolutely given me a push I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” said Dr. Naim Syed, who started the company out of his home and used a STEP grant to cover travel costs to Asia and the Middle East, where he recruited new clients.

BIA prepares for 100th annual dinner

MANCHESTER ­— The Business and Industry Association, New Hampshire’s statewide chamber of commerce, will host its 100th annual dinner from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Center of New Hampshire in Manchester on Oct. 23.

The event, which draws more than 700 business, political and opinion leaders from around the state, features presentation of two coveted awards — the Lifetime Achievement and New Hampshire Advantage awards.

The Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Whelen Engineering recognizes business leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to leadership in their professions, communities and New Hampshire.

Last year’s recipients were James Varnum, former president of Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital; John Collins, former CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic; and Ray Wieczorek, former executive councilor and founder of Wieczorek Insurance.

The New Hampshire Advantage Award presented by Citizens Bank honors businesses, organizations or projects that enhance New Hampshire’s special character and quality of life in meaningful ways. Past honorees include the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits, New Hampshire Humanities Council, New Hampshire Food Bank and Easter Seals New Hampshire.

Tickets are $1,100 for a table of 10 or $125 per person and may be purchased online at BIAofNH.com. For more information, call 224-5388, ext. 116.

Local firm gets network contract

MANCHESTER — G4 Communications of Manchester has signed a contract to provide high-speed data and voice services on the New Hampshire FastRoads network, serving 19 towns in Cheshire, Sullivan and Grafton counties.

FastRoads is operated by Monadnock Economic Development Corp. in Keene, with funding from the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority, the Department of Commerce, a consortium of local community banks and the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority.

A regional 247-mile fiberoptic network has been built in western New Hampshire to deliver broadband to community institutions, businesses and residents. Initially, the FastRoads network will provide fiber-based broadband services to homes in Rindge and Enfield, and more than 237 community institutions in southwest New Hampshire.

“We welcome G4 Communications as a residential and business service provider on the New Hampshire FastRoads network,” said Carole Monroe, the executive director of New Hampshire FastRoads.

For more information, visit www.newhampshirefastroads.net. or www.G4.net.

Carsey Institute honors innovator

DURHAM — Paul Bradley, president of ROC USA, has been named the Carsey 2013 Social Innovator of the Year.

Bradley will be honored at the New Hampshire Social Business and Microfinance Forum on Monday, Sept. 30, at the University of New Hampshire.

The Carsey Institute at UNH conducts policy research on vulnerable children, youth, and families and on sustainable community development. The Carsey Social Innovator of the Year Award recognizes a New England business leader with a demonstrated commitment to social innovation and business.

ROC stands for Resident Owned Communities, a nonprofit organization that helps residents buy their manufactured home communities or “mobile home parks” from private community owners.

“Paul Bradley has helped grow a social business that has helped thousands of people lead more secure lives by giving them a secure place to live,” said Michael Swack, faculty director of the Carsey Institute’s Center on Social Innovation and Finance.

A native of New Hampshire, Bradley received his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1986 from UNH. In 2008, he graduated from the NeighborWorks America’s Achieving Excellence Program, an executive training program offered through Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

“Our reason for being is to help homeowners gain economic security through resident ownership of their ’mobile home park’ or manufactured home community,” Bradley said. “We are focused on doing one thing really well and doing it time and again for no other reason than to preserve and improve affordable communities and build value for homeowners in resident-owned communities.”