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January 20. 2014 9:14PM

Small business event will examine health care reform

CONCORD — Business and political leaders will gather Friday to discuss issues affecting small businesses in New Hampshire, including health care reform and the state's economic plan.

The Business and Industry Association will present its ninth annual Small Business Day from 7:30 to noon Friday at the Holiday Inn Concord Downtown, 172 N. Main St.

Small Business Day, presented by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is an opportunity for small business owners and managers to hear from New Hampshire's top policy-makers and learn more about legislative issues that could affect their bottom line, the BIA said in a news release.

The event, held in partnership with the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, and local and regional chambers of commerce and business associations, is meant to engage small business owners and managers in public policy discussion and debate, as well as provide them with practical and relevant information to help manage and grow their business.

The forum begins with opening remarks from Gov. Maggie Hassan, followed by a panel discussion featuring the state's top elected leaders: Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Andy Sanborn, House Majority Leader Stephen Shurtleff and House Republican Leader Gene Chandler. The state leadership panel will focus specifically on top small business issues of 2014.

Three educational sessions will follow the legislative panel.

• "Vital Resources for Growing Your Small Business," moderated by Chris Way, deputy director of the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, will feature panelists Steve Webb, TD Bank; Mary Collins, Small Business Development Center; and Angela Martin, Devine Millimet. They will discuss essential resources to the success of a small business, including free legal help for startups, financing options, marketing strategies and tactics to improve profitability.

• "The ACA and Beyond: Navigating the New Health Insurance Landscape," will cover new strategies and opportunities for meeting a company's health care and health insurance needs in the post-ACA economy. Small businesses are challenged with navigating the complex and ever-changing health insurance landscape, particularly now that the Affordable Care Act is fully in effect and plans in the new online marketplaces kicked in Jan. 1. Panelists Marie Proulx, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Steve Gerlach, Bernstein Shur will discuss what small businesses need to know in 2014 and beyond.

• Lastly, in response to long-standing unease by business leaders about the state's economic future, the BIA recently completed a strategic economic plan for New Hampshire, aimed at capitalizing on the state's strengths and addressing growing weaknesses. In this panel, small business owners will learn more about the plan and how it will impact the state's business environment.

Participating chambers of commerce and business organizations include the Exeter Area, Greater Derry-Londonderry, Greater Hillsborough Area, Greater Keene, Greater Peterborough, Greater Salem, Hampton Area, Hanover Area, Lake Sunapee Region, Lakes Region, Lincoln-Woodstock, Merrimack, Mount Washington Valley and Wolfeboro Area chambers of commerce, and the Lakes Region Tourism Association.

The cost to attend is $15 and includes continental breakfast. To register, visit the events calendar at BIAofNH.com or call 224-5388, ext. 116.

The event is sponsored by TD Bank, Usource and media sponsor New Hampshire Business Review.



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