After a national search, longtime New Hampshire resident Elizabeth Gray '00, '09G was selected to lead the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center (NH SBDC) as state director, effective July 16. An outreach program of the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, the SBDC provides confidential, no-cost, long-term business advising to build and strengthen new and existing New Hampshire businesses.
Gray most recently was director of entrepreneurship at the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority. She established Live Free and Start, an initiative to make New Hampshire an even better place for innovative companies to be able to start, grow and succeed. She held the position of economic development business services manager at the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development and has extensive experience within the political community of New Hampshire. She worked for more than 10 years in various capacities in the offices of Governors Jeanne Shaheen, John Lynch and Maggie Hassan and as a legislative aide in the New Hampshire Senate.
“Liz will bring strong leadership skills, vision, engagement and energy to her new role at SBDC,” notes Paul College Dean Deborah Merrill-Sands. “She will be able to build on the great work Rich Grogan, past state director, and the SBDC staff did to develop a sound strategic plan and create a strong team.”
“We are happy to welcome Liz to the NH SBDC and look forward to continuing our tremendous partnership with the SBDC,” says Greta Johansson, district director with the U.S. Small Business Administration New Hampshire office. “Liz brings knowledge and strong experience about New Hampshire businesses and what it takes to become a thriving business in this state.”
Gray serves on the UNH Manchester advisory board and on the boards of directors of the UNH Alumni Association, the Alpha Loft and the New Hampshire High Tech Council, where she is the council’s chair of the government affairs committee. She earned her master’s in public administration from UNH, as well as her bachelor of science, cum laude, with dual majors in environmental conservation and international affairs.
“Liz brings invaluable relationships and a strong understanding of how the stakeholders in New Hampshire's small business arena work together,” says Adria Bagshaw, chair of the NH SBDC advisory board and vice president at W.H. Bagshaw. “The SBDC advisory board looks forward to supporting her vision and leadership as she steps into the role.”
“Entrepreneurship fuels the New Hampshire economy,” Gray says. “NH SBDC has played a big part in supporting the state’s businesses for 34 years with ongoing expert management advising and education, and I want to help the SBDC continue to thrive and make an impact on economic development in the state.”
The NH SBDC delivers its one-on-one, in-person expert business advising and training at 17 regional offices and satellite locations around the state. Online learning opportunities, including in-house developed e-courses, are available 24/7, complementing the advising program. In 2017, NH SBDC advisors worked with 851 clients who created and retained 598 NH jobs, started 84 new businesses and increased their revenue by $14.5 million.