Small business outlook for 2019 in the Monadnock Region

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/17/2019 10:24:37 AM

Funding and the lack of population density in rural communities remain as some of the largest challenges for those looking to start small businesses in the Monadnock Region, according to Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship Executive Director Mary Ann Kristiansen.

While the overall landscape in the Monadnock Region for starting up a small business is “relatively good,” according to Kristiansen, rural areas in general have struggled more to come out of the 2008 recession than their urban counterparts.

One potential reason for that, Kristiansen said, is the density of customers and resources found in larger communities.

“I think one of the larger, bigger challenges for businesses starting in rural areas is the size of the market,” Kristiansen said. “There are only so many customers here and that can be a challenge. Are there enough customers for you to make a full time living, or might you need to reach outside of the market? On an urban area can you saturate your market and grow significantly.”

In the third quarter of 2016, 1,179 establishments were started in the state – compared to 240,000 nationally – generating 2,755 jobs in the state, according to information gathered by the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy.

Over the same time period there were 1,120 establishments that closed in the state and 215,000 nationally.

Both statistics include seasonal starts and closings.

“We’re growing by growing bigger companies, which I think is bad for a lot of reasons,” Kristiansen said. “A lot of innovation happens in new business.”

While there are definite disadvantages to starting a business in rural communities the Monadnock Region also has its strengths.

Due to the small, tight-knit nature of towns in the region, smaller businesses can oftentimes find more committed and supportive customers.

“The support here is really quite amazing,” Kristiansen said. “I think we can beat an urban community any day of the week in that regard.”

Kristiansen said rural communities – especially in the Monadnock Region – also offer lower costs, more space, and more affordable spaces and materials.

Locally, Kristiansen hasn’t noticed any trends in the small business community, but said she would like to see more growth in the biotech industry.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com.


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