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Senator Hassan Hosts 4th Annual Innovate NH Entrepreneurship Forum

NEW HAMPSHIRE – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan hosted her 4th Annual Innovate NH Summit yesterday as part of her efforts to support New Hampshire’s entrepreneurs and ensure that they have the tools that they need to launch innovative businesses and thrive.


“We’re at the threshold of really bright, new opportunities for businesses across New Hampshire. You can see that from the businesses participating in today’s forum, as well as so many of you who have taken the time to join today,” said Senator Hassan to kick off the forum.


Senator Hassan went on to discuss how the bipartisan infrastructure package that she worked to pass into law “is an investment that will help our economy thrive and really allow us to outcompete any other country on the planet. Across the board, this law will have incredible benefits for businesses.”


The panel included Rich Renehan, President & CEO, American Performance Polymers, Colebrook; Tedd Benson, Founder & CEO, Bensonwood and Unity Homes, Walpole; Stacey Stevens, President, iCAD Inc., Nashua; Justin Slattery, Executive Director, Belknap Economic Development Council; and Rick Rossi, NH Cybersecurity Advisor, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security.


Participants discussed the impact that their work is having on people and communities. Stevens discussed how technological advances have helped iCAD to detect and treat breast cancer. “We’re super proud of the impact that we’re making on the lives of so many patients,” she said. Benson discussed his company’s fundamental commitment to clean energy, stating, “We are in an energy crisis, and our company has decided to establish a line in the sand, as we call it, that all of the buildings we’re building will be fossil fuel free.”


In addition, the discussion covered the growing importance of investing in global competitiveness. Earlier this year, the Senate passed the United States Innovation and Competition Act that Senator Hassan helped develop. It is a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that will help the U.S. strengthen national security and outcompete China and other countries by investing in domestic research, development, and manufacturing. 


Addressing this issue, Renahan stated, “Investing in American businesses is a huge step, I never thought we’d have to do that but if we’re competing against foreign nations that are subsidizing deeply and heavily they’re using even unfair labor practices.” He also discussed Senator Hassan’s efforts in the Senate to increase competition: “It’s very important what you’re doing…I’m very happy and delighted you’re taking it on.”


Rossi underscored the importance of all businesses strengthening their cybersecurity and preparing for potential cyberattacks. Rossi shared his advice: “Try to build security in from the start. Oftentimes we see organizations put a great device, great solution onto a network but there has been no security research into whether we can defend against that, how it impacts our cyberattack threat environment.”


Throughout the conversation, participants shared why New Hampshire is such a great place to start and grow businesses. “People want to help their neighbor, they want to help their community, and they want to help—in my world—they want their business to grow and succeed,” said Slattery. “A lot of times it’s just reaching out for that support and understanding different resources that are available, and I think the New Hampshire way really helps support everybody grow and succeed.”