By LIZ GRAY

Access to capital is a challenge for many early-stage companies, but New Hampshire’s tech ecosystem partners are working hard to solve the funding gap. Several new programs and funding opportunities are launching this fall to make it easier than ever for New Hampshire’s growth companies to connect with investors and vice versa.

Live Free and Start is excited to be hosting the NH Speed Venture Summit on Nov. 30 at the Manchester Country Club in Bedford. This exclusive event will feature high-level networking, speed pitching and a fireside chat with leading angel investor David Verrill of Hub Angels and the Angel Capital Association.

Seventeen Angel investor groups, venture capital firms or private investors from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and Texas are participating in the speed pitch session, and more than 50 for-profit high growth companies applied for the opportunity to pitch at this year’s summit.

This unique opportunity will allow startups the chance to pitch directly to investors, make connections to funding and mentorship opportunities and exchange ideas with fellow founders. Investors will meet New Hampshire’s emerging companies and gain access to exclusive deals, while tech influencers will get up close with regional investors and local entrepreneurs to learn ways they can support the state’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. (https://tinyurl.com/y7e3fvv2)

This year’s NH Tech Alliance TechOut event Nov. 15 will triple the investment awarded to winners of its competition. This was made possible through an innovative public private partnership led by the Millworks II Fund. The new fund includes a $1.2 million investment from the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority that matches investments made by 40 individual angel investors. Together they’ve agreed to contribute capital for a defined three-year period, each year investing $300,000 through TechOut: $200,000 for first place and $100,000 for second. In years past, first place received $50,000 and second place received $30,000. (https://tinyurl.com/y8vx2xm8)

On the investor side, Live Free and Start is partnering with colleagues in Maine and Vermont to launch the Northern New England Women’s Investor Network (NNEWIN). This tristate collaboration is bringing together women exploring whether early-stage investing is right for them and seasoned female angel investors interested in networking with peers and providing mentorship to aspiring women angels. The NNEWIN’s first event Nov. 1 brought together 40 female investors during an interactive training session led by Jean Hammond, co-founder and partner of LearnLaunch. Follow-on training opportunities will be provided to women participating in the network. (livefreeandstart.com/women-angels-event/)

Another exciting opportunity that was recently launched is the Impact NH Fund. The fund’s main goals are to encourage more women to become angel investors, increase the amount of capital invested in women-led businesses, educate new angel investors through experience and learning opportunities, all while promoting economic growth in the state. The Impact NH Fund is accepting applications from companies seeking investment. (impactnhfund.org)

This is just a short list of the initiatives and events taking place in New Hampshire engaging angel investors and encouraging investment in New Hampshire’s startup ecosystem. Keep an eye out for more to come and be sure to join us at the NH Speed Venture Summit on Nov. 30 so you too can be a tech influencer and help drive the innovation economy.

Liz Gray is the state’s director of entrepreneurship, leading the Live Free and Start initiative. She has previously worked with then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, the New Hampshire State Senate, Gov. John Lynch, Gov. Maggie Hassan, and the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development. Liz also serves on the NH Tech Alliance Board as the government affairs committee chair, UNH Manchester Advisory Board, and the UNH Alumni Association Board. You can learn more about Live Free and Start at www.LiveFreeAndStart.com or email Liz at connect@livefreeandstart.com.

See the article in the Union Leader.