Fair connected New Hampshire small businesses with over 40 financial institutions, state and federal agencies

July 06, 2009

(Washington, D.C.) - Over 400 current and prospective small business owners packed the gymnasium at Southern New Hampshire University today to connect with 45 local lenders and state and federal agencies and learn about all the financing options available for small businesses during the Small Business Financing Fair organized by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen.  Attendees came to the fair from every county in New Hampshire and represented a diverse cross-section of industries from retailers to construction companies to manufacturers.

"I am happy that so many of our state's small business owners came today to learn about the various financing and resource options available to them, but I also understand this high turnout is an indication of just how many small business owners need help accessing credit in this difficult economic climate," said Shaheen.  "Small business is the engine of New Hampshire's economy, and I'm glad today's fair will help our state's entrepreneurs keep their businesses going and create jobs."

"This was an incredible opportunity to meet with this extraordinary resource group, and I want to thank Senator Shaheen for hosting this fair," said fair attendee Bob Tortorice, owner of Building Alternatives Inc. in Franconia. "I have a lot of homework ahead of me, but I am hopeful after this event. We have been in business for 22 years and have survived on our own, but now we need help."

"By hosting the largest financing fair in our state's history, Senator Shaheen has given small business owners an opportunity to access financing and valuable resources to help them succeed," said George Bald, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development.  "During these difficult economic times, it is essential that we give New Hampshire entrepreneurs every opportunity to not only get by, but grow and create new jobs, and this fair accomplished that important objective."

Earlier this year, Shaheen traveled across New Hampshire talking to small business owners about what they need to keep their doors open and shelves stocked.  Overwhelmingly, the number one concern of small business owners was access to credit.  Shaheen, who serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, has taken action on behalf of small business owners in the Senate by working to expand lending opportunities for small businesses.  Specifically, Shaheen led the effort to persuade the Small Business Administration to make loan guarantees available to 70,000 additional businesses and she worked to secure additional microloan funding for start-up small businesses.

The fair was co-hosted by the Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Center, New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development, the New Hampshire Bankers Association, New Hampshire Employment Security and Southern New Hampshire University.

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