UNH Co-op helps town plan

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/28/2017 6:36:58 AM

The Wilton Economic Development Committee has pinpointed four areas to build on for the continued development of the town, after going through a business survey process with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

The Cooperative Extention hosts a Business Retention and Expansion program, which helps towns identify needs and solutions of their existing businesses, and directs towns on how they might attract the kinds of businesses they want to see established.

Volunteers recruited by Wilton’s Economic Development Committee have spent the last several months surveying business owners to determine what their needs are, and how the town might assist them in filling those needs. 

“The Wilton Economic Development Team undertook the [Business Retention and Expansion] program so we could understand the needs of our existing businesses and prioritize the initiatives we will focus on to ensure they continue to thrive, said team lead Jennifer Beck. 

Approximately 60 percent of the town’s businesses participated in the one-hour survey, which were then consolidated and analyzed by the team from UNH. At the end of February.

Ultimately, the EDC recommended four initiatives to move forward with to help drive economic growth in the town: Digital marketing, commercial property match-making, develop the Wilton brand, and develop a town business plan.

Each initiative has several potential points. For example, digital marketing will seek to create a digital presence for merchants, historical sites and recreational activities in Wilton, and offer a class or workshop on digital commerce and offer a student support team for Wilton retail interests and attractions.

Commercial property match making will determine what types of businesses to attract and proactively match-make available key properties with those desirable businesses. 

Developing Wilton’s brand will mostly be under the purpose of a NH PLAN design charette that the town will undergo this year, which among other things, will determine the brand that Wilton residents want to pursue. 

The business plan will outline a return on investment view of proposed projects and long and short-term impacts. 

The Wilton Economic Development Team is seeking volunteers for all of these initiatives. If you have background, expertise or interest in working on any of these programs, please send an email to ecodev@wiltonnh.org. 


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