New Hampshire launches tech startup competition, boosts ‘Live Free and Start’

CONCORD – New Hampshire is jumping with both feet into the growing arena of competitions for technology startup companies as it continues efforts to encourage an “ecosystem” for such businesses.

The news of what’s being called the “Ultimate NH Connection” competition – which carries the prize of an hour-long meeting with Gov. Maggie Hassan and a roundtable of tech industry leaders with lots of connections and resources – was released Thursday along with a refurbished website for the Live Free and Start program, plus what is being called a Startup Concierge Service.

The service is designed to connect fledgling tech companies, or even inventors looking to start a company, with resources they need to help launch their businesses. Those include connections to funding, links with business incubators, and introductions to legal or marketing expertise. The service can be reached at www.livefreeand

That program began a year ago, created jointly by the governor’s office, the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority and the Department of Resources and Economic Development. Its main goal is to get more high-tech companies to start up in New Hampshire and then stay here once they get going.

“The new website offers tech entrepreneurs the ability to access critical information and resources they need to start their business in New Hampshire, immerse themselves in our thriving startup ecosystem and make connections with experts who can help accelerate their businesses,” said Liz Gray, New Hampshire’s director of entrepreneurship. “The website highlights New Hampshire’s robust network of business incubators and offers a guide to obtaining funding from angels, VCs and investors.”

Eligibility rules and application information are available at Entries for the Ultimate NH Connection competition will be accepted online until May 15, and a winner will be selected in early June.

According to the state, New Hampshire’s high-tech sector employs nearly 44,000 people and contributes nearly $3 billion to the state’s gross domestic product in salaries.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531, or @GraniteGeek.