Innovator of the Week
Executive Director of Mt. Washington Tech Village
In Conway, New Hampshire, the Mount Washington Valley Tech Village has been “providing the infrastructure for success” to promising startups in the Mount Washington Valley for fifteen years, explains Jac Cuddy, the Tech Village’s executive director. He further explains that, while the region is revered for its natural beauty, few people are aware that the area is primed for entrepreneurial development in the midst of an “existing community of tech people.” “Even though we are not the tech centers of Manchester, Portsmouth, or Nashua,” Cuddy says, “we’re a vibrant community in the North Country.” While sparsely populated, the region has proven to be an excellent environment for high tech startups to emerge and grow. Beyond that, the Mount Washington Valley is gorgeous and simply a “place where young people want to live.”
Branching off from the Mount Washington Valley Economic Council, the Tech Village started as an initiative to instigate the development of environmentally friendly business in the area. They quickly “zeroed in on the technology world” and have since grown tremendously, now operating at capacity with a waiting list. Situated on eighty-one acres of land that they have owned since 2003, the Tech Village leases their current space to an array of tenants. They are continuing to develop the property and have put in a road and subdivided lots, anticipating the future construction of additional office buildings.
In addition to physical space and office supplies, the Tech Village offers their tenants access to the Microsoft Office Suite. In terms of programming, they “put on boot camps on a regular basis” for small businesses in the area. They also provide QuickBooks to their tenants in a variety of areas ranging from marketing to social media use. Furthermore, they partner with Granite State College to provide educational programming for anyone within the community interested in business and entrepreneurship. Additionally, they provide educational programs for non-profit organizations throughout the region. Over the years, Cuddy says, “successful businesses have moved out of the incubator and are doing really well,” testifying to the value and success of the Tech Village and its programming.
Like other incubators, the Tech Village is minimally staffed and relies heavily on the support of the community. Those wanting to get involved, Cuddy says, can join in the effort to attract budding entrepreneurs to the region. The community itself, he explains, can help promote the region as a prime location for entrepreneurship. Everyone “can be a sales force to make our facility known.” (To learn more, go to http://www.thetechvillage.com/.)
Cuddy explains that the Tech Village is “an important player” in the broader high tech ecosystem in the state, helping to foster greater connection and cooperation between different components of the ecosystem. To this end, they were a founding member of the New Hampshire Business Incubator Network. Looking ahead, they are looking to continue offering the same services to their current tenants and hope to expand their facilities, building an additional office space that would “be a resource” for startups in the region. At the end of the day, “Bringing some jobs into the Mount Washington Valley,” Cuddy explains, “is our ultimate goal.”
Interview & Publication by Brian Mailhot