Meet and greet

Representatives of state, regional and federal grant-making organizations gathered at the Claremont Makerspace to explain grant opportunities. US Representative Anne Kuster (D- NH Dist. 2), top right, hosted the “grant fair.”

CLAREMONT — Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D- District 2) held a federal funding workshop at the Makerspace Wednesday morning to introduce Claremont area organizations, communities and businesses to federal, state and local grant and loan opportunities to support economic development throughout the region.

Given the agencies in attendance, Kuster started the workshop with a rule: anyone using an acronym without explaining it would be fined 25 cents, and anyone using an acronym they couldn’t remember what it stood for would be fined 50 cents. Present were representatives from the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs, USDA Office of Rural Development, NH Community Development Finance Authority, U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Northern Border Regional Commission, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Each agency representative gave a short description of the kinds of funding they have available and the type of project they can help.

Claremont Makerspace director Josh Bushueff said CMS was happy to host the workshop because several of those present have been “supporters of the Makerspace since its dirt floor beginnings.” The Makerspace drew on city, federal and state funding supports to become a reality. Bushueff cited a few present: The Northern Border Regional Commission, NH Community Development Finance Authority, the USDA Rural Business Development, and “a slew of local and regional supporters.”

“I wanted to showcase the Makerspace,” said Kuster. “Our office has always loved this project. Some of the conversation we’re having today is to encourage people to think that way — people who work in housing are used to thinking that way (collaborating with multiple funding sources and agency help).” Kuster said that the business community and people who are interested in economic development can benefit from such collaboration.

Noting she is now in her seventh year in Congress, Kuster continued: “New Hampshire sends our tax dollars to Washington and we do not get 100 cents on the dollar back. So that’s my plan — to introduce you to folks who can help bring those dollars back.

“Any problem you’re trying to solve and work on in your community,” said Kuster, “hopefully these people can help.”

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