SALEM — A small Main Street company has received a big honor.
Good Leads, a 10-year-old business development firm, has been named the Small Business Exporter of the Year for New Hampshire and New England by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Good Leads has done business with more than 400 companies, government entities and economic development groups around the world, said Marilyn Bogue, an economic development specialist with the SBA.
The 40-employee company and owner Robert Good will be honored by the SBA on May 22.
“I’m clearly very honored with the New Hampshire award and was even more pleased that we also won for all of New England as well,” Good said yesterday. “It is really recognition for all of the employees of Good Leads as to their dedication in serving our customers both domestically and internationally.”
Good is a former sales and marketing executive for companies such as General Electric, TRW and Wang Labs. He is president of the 300-member New England-Canada Business Council and led a trade mission last summer to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Another is planned for Toronto.
Good’s company is symbolic of how Granite State businesses are playing a vital role in global markets, according to Bogue and Tina Kasim, international program manager for the state’s International Trade Resource Center.
Good Leads was chosen from among six New Hampshire firms and numerous others across New England. The company will compete for the national honor later this month, Bogue said.
Bogue said one reason Good Leads was chosen is because of its uniqueness.
Instead of exporting products, the company specializes in exporting services that help boost international trade, especially with Canada, Bogue said.
“Recognizing that we deliver and export our services is breaking new ground,” Good said. “At the end of the day, the more global customers we have, the more jobs are created in New Hampshire.”
Good Leads is among the approximately 2,000 companies of 37,000 in the state that export goods or services, accounting for $3.5 billion in sales last year, Kasim said.
“I don’t think people realize how much goes into exporting and how much revenue it generates,” Kasim said.
A steadily improving economy has made a big difference this year, Kasim said. As of March 1, the state already had $6.6 billion in exports, she said.
New Hampshire’s top exports include plastics, medical devices, software and high-tech products. Its top trade partners are Canada, Mexico, the Netherlands, China and Germany, Kasim said.
Kasim lauded Good and his firm’s work.
“We have worked with him on many different trade missions,” she said.
Good and his company also received praise from U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.
“Congratulations to Good Leads; they’re a great example of how a company can grow by exporting and tapping into the global marketplace,” said Shaheen, a member of the Senate Small Business Committee.
Shaheen helped launch the SBA’s State Trade and Export Promotion program, or STEP. The program provides grants to companies interested in exploring export markets for the first time or boosting their current experts. Good Leads received a $5,000 grant through the program in December.
“Promoting exports, particularly when it comes to small businesses in New Hampshire, will help spur growth and create jobs and that’s a goal we should all rally around,” she said in a statement. “I’m hopeful that we can do more to encourage exporting because it’s in our best economic interest to do so.”