After a national search New Hampshire long-time resident and University of New Hampshire alumna Elizabeth Gray was selected to lead the Small Business Development Center as state director, effective July 16, 2018. An outreach program of the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at UNH, the SBDC provides confidential, no-cost long-term business advising to build and strengthen new and existing New Hampshire businesses.
Gray most recently was director of entrepreneurship at the N.H. Business Finance Authority. She established Live Free and Start, an initiative to make New Hampshire an even better place for innovative companies to be able to start, grow and succeed. She held the position of economic development business services manager at the N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development, and has extensive experience within the political community of New Hampshire. She worked for more than 10 years in various capacities in the offices of governors Shaheen, Lynch and Hassan, and as a legislative aide in the N.H. State Senate.
“Liz will bring strong leadership skills, vision, engagement, and energy to her new role at SBDC,” said Paul College Dean Deborah Merrill-Sands. “She will be able to build on the great work Rich Grogan (past state director) and the SBDC staff did to develop a sound strategic plan and create a strong SBDC team.”
“We are happy to welcome Liz Gray to the NH SBDC and look forward to continuing our tremendous partnership with the SBDC,” stated Greta Johansson, district director with the U.S. Small Business Administration New Hampshire office. “Liz brings knowledge and strong experience about NH businesses, and what it takes to become a thriving business in this state.”
Gray serves on the UNH Manchester Advisory Board, and on the boards of directors of the UNH Alumni Association, the Alpha Loft and the NH High Tech Council, where she is the council’s chair of the Government Affairs Committee. She earned her master’s in public administration from UNH, as well as her bachelor of science, cum laude, with dual majors in environmental conservation and international affairs.
"Liz brings invaluable relationships and a strong understanding of how the stakeholders in New Hampshire's small business arena work together,” said Adria Bagshaw, Chair, NH SBDC Advisory Board and vice president, W.H. Bagshaw. “The SBDC Advisory Board looks forward to supporting her vision and leadership as she steps into the State Director role."
“Entrepreneurship fuels the New Hampshire economy,” stated Gray. “NH SBDC has played a big part in supporting the state’s businesses for 34 years with ongoing expert management advising and education, and I want to help the SBDC continue to thrive and make an impact on economic development in the state.”
The New Hampshire Small Business Development Center delivers its one-on-one, in-person expert business advising and training at 17 regional offices and satellite locations around the state. Online learning opportunities, including in-house developed e-courses, are available 24/7, complementing the advising program. In 2017, NH SBDC advisors worked with 851 clients, who created and retained 598 NH jobs, started 84 new businesses, and increased their revenue by $14.5M. More information is available at www.nhsbdc.org.
The NH SBDC is an outreach program of the UNH Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, its host institution, and a cooperative venture of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs, the University of New Hampshire, and the private sector. A part of 62 SBDC programs nationwide, the NH SBDC was fully accredited in 2015 by the Association of Small Business Development Centers.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,300 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.