The landscape of tech is changing. New Hampshire’s tech workers and policymakers can decide how far our state will go.
This article was originally published in the NH Business Review.
By Julie Demers
New Hampshire’s tech scene has serious potential. How much of that potential can we realize? That’s up to people like you — the tech workers, business owners, and strategic decision-makers that hold the power.
We’re in a period of massive transformation in the tech world. Tech giants such as Twitter, Meta, Google, and Apple are facing dysfunction and public scrutiny. More people are realizing that they can build a successful tech career or business, without tethering themselves to Silicon Valley or Austin or Cambridge.
We might not have the size or brand recognition of these tech epicenters, but New Hampshire is still pretty impressive. In 2021, the tech ecosystem contributed $10.8 billion to the New Hampshire economy. That’s equivalent to the GDP of a small country – just from tech!
It’s easy to see how our state is a great fit for remote workers; we’ve got beautiful outdoor recreation, a welcoming culture and high quality of life — all removed from the hustle and bustle of a typical tech haven.
New Hampshire also boasts a unique combination of opportunity, access and connectivity. In our small but mighty state, you’re likely never more than a degree of separation away from a key decision or policymaker. There’s plenty of game-changing innovation already underway – but we can always keep growing our tech culture.
Every individual is capable of contributing to New Hampshire’s tech bloom. Fulfilling our state’s potential will require effort, collaboration and tech-friendly policy.
When tech thrives, the rest of the state does too.
Let me drop a few stats on you, courtesy of CompTIA’s State of the Tech Workforce Report:
- The tech sector makes up 12.5% of the overall economy in New Hampshire (that $10.8 billion is a big deal!).
- New Hampshire ranks 5th nationally in technology’s economic impact as a percentage of the state’s overall economy, trailing only Washington, California, Massachusetts and Colorado.
- New Hampshire ranks 6th nationally for concentration (7.8%) of tech workers relative to its overall employment base.
That’s to say: our tech scene is already humming. A thriving tech community produces a trickle-down effect for the rest of New Hampshire.
Companies such as Advanced Solutions, which manufactures robotic and vascular platforms for building human tissues, have moved their manufacturing headquarters to the Granite State. New Hampshire startups, including Rogue Space Systems, which designs satellite vehicles and subsystems, are gaining prominence.
Each new business produces jobs and generates wealth, and not just for tech workers. As more techies move to our state, we’re enabling more restaurants, real estate firms, car dealerships, etc.
Tech culture isn’t just about tech; it’s about the entire state.
Our recipe for success: Access + Policy + Collaboration
In ten years, imagine that a national audience views New Hampshire in the same tech-centric conversation as Washington, California, Massachusetts, and Colorado. How would we have achieved this recognition? What will have fueled the growth?
Here’s our recipe:
Sure, with 1.4 million residents, we don’t have the sheer volume of tech influencers that bigger markets can claim. New Hampshire’s small size can work to its advantage. When the tech community is tight-knit and connected, there’s more potential for innovation.
In New Hampshire, your next prospect, client, business partner or employer could easily be a friend of a friend – or better put, one degree of connection on LinkedIn away. Reaching a high-profile investor or CEO or state legislator feels more attainable here than in other busy tech hives.
Send an email, grab a coffee with a colleague or attend a conference. Your next great idea might not be far away.
New Hampshire’s unparalleled access lends itself to productive, mutually-beneficial relationships between the private and public sectors. Public officials need to continue to push policy that supports innovation and brings more tech companies to our state.
I always like to re-tell the story of a colleague of mine, a CEO of a New Hampshire company. He was meeting with out-of-state investors, who asked about certain business regulations in NH. “Let me text the governor,” my colleague said nonchalantly.
Imagine doing that in California – I don’t think so! That’s the New Hampshire difference at work.
Collaboration is the foundation of tech. Whether it’s hackathons, conferences, or mentoring — good things happen when we get in a room together.
To reach its potential, the NH tech community has no choice but to work together. We don’t need giant companies like Uber and Google, but small and medium-sized businesses must band together to share resources and knowledge. Each person and entity can benefit from creating a more robust, active, and engaging culture.
And who’s to say that collaboration has to stop at the NH border? The distance from New Hampshire to Boston/Cambridge isn’t much different from one end of Silicon Valley to the other. We can make the New England Tech Corridor stronger together.
How are you advancing the NH tech scene?
I’ll leave you with the thoughts of a brilliant colleague, C.A. Webb, who spoke at our Innovation Summit for the New Hampshire Tech Alliance (NHTA). Webb is synonymous with all things tech, life science, and investing in New England.
To close her remarks, Webb offered up three questions to anyone looking to grow the New Hampshire tech ecosystem:
What do you want the NH tech ecosystem to be known for in ten years?
What’s our North Star in 2033? What can we own as a tech culture?
Who are three individuals/organizations that embody this vision?
Who is capable of leading this transformation? Not only that – what can you do to amplify these individuals and/or organizations??
What are you, personally, going to contribute to making it happen?
Find your “why.” Each person’s contribution will look different, but we have to hold ourselves accountable.
Innovation doesn’t happen in solitude. Especially in a remote world, you need a water cooler, whiteboard, and home base for all the amazing tech innovation that’s going to take place in our state. That’s our vision for NHTA, and we’d love for you to get involved with us.
New Hampshire’s tech scene is already impressive. It’ll only keep growing with contributions from people like you.
Julie Demers is the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Tech Alliance, a non-profit industry organization dedicated to all things tech in New Hampshire. Learn more about NHTA at nhtechalliance.org.