BIG INK, a Newmarket-based mobile woodblock workshop and print archive, won the Granite State Growth Competition and $25,000 grand prize at the Regional Economic Development Center’s 25th anniversary celebration.
Delivering its final business pitch to the judges and before a large crowd, BIG INK, led by Lyell Castonguay and Carand Burnet, beat out four other finalists in the statewide competition.
BIG INK is expanding the practice of woodblock printing to both hobbyists and professional artists. To do this, the organization sets up temporary print shops at partner sites, including museums, universities, art centers and galleries, and selects artists to participate.
According to Castonguay and Burnet, revenue has increased 25 percent over last year and 15 percent of their customers are returning artists.
The Granite State Growth Competition started with more than 30 applicants. After participating in several rounds of pitching and narrowing down the number of competitors, a panel of judges selected five finalists, including BIG INK, Cyborg, NH Tap, TrueProp Software and YouScheduler, to compete in the event.
“The Granite State Growth Competition showcased the entrepreneurial spirt and innovation that’s thriving around the state,” says Laurel Adams, President of REDC. “Each of our finalists gained valuable expertise through this process - whether they walked away with the grand prize, honed their business plans or were introduced to our partners and supporters who can continue to help them grow their businesses.”
REDC also recognized individuals and organizations who have contributed to its success over the past 25 years. Award recipients include:
- Corporate Partner Award: Enterprise Bank
- Community Partner Award: NH Community Development Finance Authority
- Ambassador Award: James Snodgrass, Executive Director, Second Start
- Service Award: Paul Deschaine, Former Stratham Administrator, founding REDC Board Member
“Our award recipients have played a vital role in helping our organization promote responsible, sustainable economic development by creating jobs and accessing alternative financing for businesses,” Adams says. “We can’t thank them enough for partnering with us to make a lasting impact in the community; with their help, our organization has the resources it needs to meet the growing need in our area.”
For the past 25 years, REDC has worked to help the Southern NH economy and local businesses grow. Its programming has expanded to assisting people across the state, most recently with the launch of its New Americans Loan Fund, the state’s first microloan fund designed specifically to help first-generation immigrants start and grow businesses.
In the past year, REDC has made $3 million in direct loans: of those funds, 56 percent went to startups, 40 percent to women-owned businesses and 19 percent to minority-owned businesses. The organization has also provided more than 100 businesses with technical assistance.
For more information about REDC and the Granite State Growth Competition, visit https://www.redc.com/