Defining New Hampshire’s Tech Ecosystem

Alliance News |

Toral CowiesonBy Toral Cowieson, NHHTC Board Chair

Even though New Hampshire is a small state in terms of size and population, we have a large and active non-commercial sector that serves and supports many technology causes and affinity groups. New ones form regularly and like the private sector, there are occasional mergers and acquisitions. This creates continual opportunities for partnerships and a need to regularly evaluate the landscape.

In delivering on our mission to serve our membership by creating a vibrant ecosystem for technology companies that want to launch, grow or relocate in New Hampshire, there are many organizations we regularly work with that interact with our membership in different ways. These include Live Free and Start, Alpha Loft, NH Aerospace and Defense Export Consortium, NH Clean Tech Council and many of the chambers of commerce, specific college and university offices, incubators/accelerators located across the state. Several of these were formed in the last few years and represent newer partnerships. Through this ecosystem, we partner on events, cross promote activities, and even advocate in Concord on mutually beneficial legislation.

As the Tech Council plans for 2017, we develop priorities for the coming year based on sector changes, member make up and interest and other factors. I am sure many of the aforementioned organizations are doing the same. But do we as separate organizations connect on this in a more global and proactive way? Do we have a shared lexicon – for example, how do we define what a start up company is? Most likely the answer is not fully. We may partner on projects as they move forward, but I do not believe we are as aware of each other’s initiatives as we could and should be and may be missing opportunities to collaborate and work more efficiently to advance mutually beneficial causes and actions across the state.

On a macro issue, we at the Tech Council are also grappling with how we even define tech today because tech is in nearly everything. As a result, how do you define the sector – is it company-based or employee-based? Either way, we know that the sector or ecosystem is a major economic driver and a force in the state from an economic development perspective.

For 2017, we will take a closer look at defining this ecosystem and convene a Tech Summit to learn more about the mission and vision of each entity, who they serve and how, and then identify common initiatives or activities in which we can collectively deliver even more effectively. I am pleased to say that one of the NHHTC Board of Directors, Dawn Wivell, has agreed to lead this effort and plan for the summit.

Look for more information on this effort in early 2017. Organizations that regularly touch the tech sector can be a powerful voice when we work together and look forward to convening and deliberating on how we can do so effectively in 2017.