SBDC Commits to Create Strategic Partnerships with State Chambers of Commerce

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Media Relations logo

DURHAM, N.H.— As a result of recent efforts to strengthen strategic partnerships with New Hampshire chambers of commerce, the NH Small Business Development Center (NH SBDC) will launch the NH SBDC & Chambers of Commerce Collaborative program.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a statewide need for assistance to small businesses. The insight provided by chambers of commerce through NH SBDC’s study further reinforced that building a solid and long-term relationship with chamber leadership is the most effective way to ensure a collaborative partnership into the future, benefiting small businesses around the state.

“SBDC has had relationships with chambers in New Hampshire for many years and we felt it was crucial at this point in time to gain additional information and insight so we can strengthen existing relationships and build new relationships with New Hampshire’s chambers of commerce,” said Liz Gray, NH SBDC state director.

NH SBDC’s goal is to assist more small businesses statewide. Chambers of commerce are often in search of collaborative projects and ideas to benefit their membership and the communities they serve. NH SBDC can help provide chambers with increased value for their members, thus strengthening their organizations, and chambers can share SBDC’s educational resources and recommend its no-cost expert business advising services to their members.

Phase one of the study began in early September and focused on documenting current relationships with chambers of commerce, both individually and as a group. The comprehensive assessment, including a survey and regional focus groups, increased knowledge and gained valuable insight into the relationships between NH SBDC and chambers across the state.

About half of the approximately 48 chambers of commerce statewide participated in the study, representing nearly all cities and towns in New Hampshire and over 5,400 businesses. The research was performed by Cardinal Consulting, LLC.

The results and final report, presented to chambers in a virtual meeting, will act as the backbone of future projects and partnerships. Highlights of the results include:

  • Continuous communication between NH SBDC advisors and chamber leaders.
  • The creation of resources to assist chambers in promoting NH SBDC and adding value to their own organizations.
  • A partnership with the NH Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (NHACCE) with a focus on chamber leader professional development.

“As an organization focused on professional development and collaboration for chamber executives, NHACCE is pleased to partner with NH SBDC to build an even stronger relationship between our organizations,” said Wendy Hunt, chair of NHACCE. “Together we will enhance the skills and abilities of our members and provide them with knowledge and information they need to bring the programs and services of NH SBDC to their members.”

The NH Small Business Development Center (NH SBDC) is the leading resource for business advising and education for small businesses in the Granite State. SBDC’s team of certified business advisors provides highly individualized, confidential advising at no charge to N.H. enterprises. NH SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and through assistance provided by the State of NH. NH SBDC is an outreach program of the UNH Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics in conjunction with SBA, the State of NH (BEA), the University of NH and the private sector. This project was funded through the CARES Act.

Cardinal Consulting, LLC of Bethlehem, was founded by Nathan Karol, former executive director of the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce and board member of the NH Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Association. Cardinal was chosen for this project due in part to its founder’s in-depth understanding of and established relationships with the state’s chambers of commerce. Cardinal’s mission is to enable New Hampshire companies to become sustainable businesses that give back to and strengthen their communities.

The University of New Hampshire inspires innovation and transforms lives in our state, nation and world. More than 16,000 students from all 50 states and 71 countries engage with an award-winning faculty in top-ranked programs in business, engineering, law, health and human services, liberal arts and the sciences across more than 200 programs of study. As one of the nation’s highest-performing research universities, UNH partners with NASA, NOAA, NSF and NIH, and receives more than $110 million in competitive external funding every year to further explore and define the frontiers of land, sea and space.