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(Manchester, N.H.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) was joined by U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) chief Karen Mills today to hear from business owners about how SBA programs have helped small businesses, job growth and New Hampshire’s overall economy.

“While businesses are the job creators, the federal government has an important role to play in helping companies succeed.  I was pleased to have SBA’s Karen Mills in our state today as we toured three companies that have been able to expand and hire new employees with the help of important federal programs,” Shaheen said. “SemiGen and Absolute Resource Associates, companies that have grown with the help of the SBA 504 refinance program, are great examples of the kind of high-tech companies that give our state and nation its competitive advantage.  I also applaud Nanocomp Technologies in Merrimack, which has expanded with the help of research and development awards through the recently reauthorized Small Business Innovation Research Program.”

Shaheen and Mills discussed the SBA’s loan programs, which help small companies refinance their mortgages and lock in historically low interest rates. Earlier this year, Shaheen introduced a bipartisan bill to extend the SBA 504 refinance program. New Hampshire companies received $50 million in 504 loans last year and have already received $55 million so far this year.

Shaheen and Mills discussed how these SBA loans have proven to be a crucial source for credit during a tour of SemiGen in Manchester, which produces printed circuit boards and microwave transmitters. In 2011, the company built its Manchester facility in order to grow and add jobs, an expansion financed in part by an SBA 504 loan.

“The assistance that the SBA provides to companies like mine gives us the financial vehicle to grow a business and create new jobs,” said SemiGen President Jim Morgan. “Senators like Jeanne Shaheen who are dedicated to rebuilding the economy in the United States ensure that programs like the SBA stay intact and running. I am particularly thankful to have people in Washington who recognize this need and are making a difference in securing manufacturing jobs here in New Hampshire and not overseas.”

Shaheen and Mills also discussed SBA loans during a visit to Absolute Resource Associates in Portsmouth, a company that conducts environmental testing using sophisticated precision equipment. Absolute Resource Associates has relied on SBA loan programs twice over the years to grow its company and has paid those loans back in full. Recently, the company applied for an SBA 504 loan to buy new equipment and expand even further.

"We are thrilled to have hosted Senator Shaheen and Administrator Mills for a tour of our facility today,” said Sue Sylvester, Principal, President & CFO of Absolute Resource Associate. “The SBA has provided ongoing support to our small business over the last 12 years.  Recently, we received an SBA loan that has allowed us to move into larger space, purchase new equipment and upgrade our technology with improvements in energy efficiency and sample processing.  In this tight economy these SBA programs have allowed our business the ability to diversify to meet the needs of our customers, create new jobs and offer growth opportunities to our employees.” 

The pair also toured Nanocomp Technologies in Merrimack, a producer of next-generation industrial fabrics and coatings that took advantage of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, a critical small business program that increases participation of small, innovative companies in federal research and development programs. The company, which has won more than $5 million in SBIR funding, is the first, and at present only, commercial producer of high performance strong, light and conductive sheets, tapes, wires and yarns comprised of high concentrations of carbon nanotube fibers. It employs nearly 60 people in its Merrimack manufacturing facility and Concord research and development shop.

“Nanocomp Technologies owes much of its success to a thriving partnership with the federal government starting with early investments by an SBIC-backed venture firm, to SBIR, to development contracts with the Department of Defense.  We are pleased to have had Senator Jeanne Shaheen and SBA Administrator Karen Mills, visit Nanocomp to see how new jobs are being created as we establish the nation’s leading carbon nanotube manufacturing facility,” said Peter Antoinette, President and CEO, Nanocomp Technologies, Inc.

Late last year Congress finally acted to grant a long-term extension to SBIR. Shaheen has been a longtime advocate for businesses, and has sponsored and supported legislation to help small businesses create jobs in New Hampshire.