Representatives from Google, Facebook met with city business owners

NASHUA – Business leaders said recent visits from top tech companies could help the Nashua re­gion continue its push to increase economic opportu­nities through more collab­orated online networking and other Internet-based resources.

Last month, representa­tives with the Internet gi­ant Google met with local businesses to try out a new instant verification inter­face project and brought team members from Bra­zil, London and New York. Part of Google’s Get Your Business Online program is "Let’s Put Nashua on the Map," which aims to bring community and civic lead­ers together with business owners to help local shops and other ventures succeed on the web.

The visit from Google came just a few weeks after Facebook hosted the "Small Business Boost" to connect businesspeople in Greater Nashua with digital tools to boost their businesses using social network sites. Both pit-stops, business advocates said, demonstrate south­ern New Hampshire’s at­tractiveness to tech-based companies and a willing­ness to use their resources to expand online growth and promotional assets.

"It’s certainly nice to have those opportunities and it’s a great way for businesses to get ques­tions they might have an­swered," said Paul Shea, executive director of Great American Downtown in Nashua.

In addition to helping businesses already located in the region grow their brand and offer advice on the best ways to use the large Internet services, the attention could spotlight Greater Nashua as a good high-tech business envi­ronment.

Inc. magazine ranked the Manchester/Nashua area as one of the 10 up-and-coming tech hubs recently, saying the in­dustry is "revitalizing once-depressed economies" across the country and could experience a boom.

"I think it is an attrac­tive hub, and having that attention from those busi­nesses feeds into that sen­timent," Shea said. "As far as all things go, the more success, the more involve­ment, the more support we have for these kind of endeavors and facilitating communication with tech companies and the busi­ness community, the more of that there, I think it can certainly add to the appeal of Nashua and the general area as a place for tech companies."

Tracy Hatch, the new president of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Com­merce, said she has fielded more inquiries than usual from promotional com­panies about Nashua pop­ping up as a top place for people to look at for relo­cation.

"If Google is coming here basically saying this is a place where there’s a lot of curiosity about what’s here, there’s a lot of people who are looking for things that are here and it’s a big enough community that it makes sense for them to come out and assist busi­nesses in doing that," Hatch said. "That says a lot about the growth potential in the area right now."

According to Shea, part of his organization’s goal is to grow marketing ef­forts through by using social media and other Internet tools. By increas­ing efforts to bring such opportunities to the lo­cal business community, more consumers will have access to their products and services.

"The more businesses that we can get engaged in social media and on the web, the more the com­munity will strengthen their relationship with the downtown," Shea said.

Chris Garofolo can be reached at 594-6465, cgarofolo@nashua or @Telegraph_ Chris.