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Tech Council Offers Members 401(k) Plan
Published Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The NH High Tech Council (NHHTC) in Manchester is providing members with a tool to attract and retain talent in a competitive labor market while also strengthening its offerings for NH startups. The NHHTC is among the first tech organizations nationwide to offer a member-exclusive 401(k) plan. That comes on the heels of taking over Alpha Loft, a local incubator and business accelerator program.

According to Matt Cookson, NHHTC’s executive director, the new Multiple Employer Plan 401(k) will be managed by UBS Financial Services and give members access to a retirement savings plan. Cookson says among NHHTC's 270 members, many are 20-person companies, and when he looked at national data, he learned many smaller companies don’t offer a 401(k). Cookson says the cost can be out of reach and “the time to administer a plan is too great. Often these firms have no dedicated HR professional, and responsibilities for such a plan often fall to the company president.” He says it is a major move for a company to implement a 401(k) plan as there are issues of liability, and the “notorious” Form 5500 annual reporting can be a real hassle.

With the second lowest unemployment rate in the country, NH businesses face challenges with employee recruitment and retention. That challenge is often worsened for small businesses with benefit packages that may not compare to those of larger organizations. “Given our tight economy and competitive recruiting, this is what workers look for,” Cookson says. “Companies may lose employees if they don’t have the right benefits package.”

Cookson says within a few days of the announcement, the council received several inquiries.

In addition to the 401(k) announcement, the NH High Tech Council has joined forces with Alpha Loft to better serve the startup community. In 2017, Alpha Loft laid off its manager of operations and communications and began reevaluating its programs after significant cuts from funding sources.

The result was the merger between the NH High Tech Council and Alpha Loft in January. Cookson says the goal is to integrate Alpha Loft into NHHTC by year end. The organizations have worked closely together for several years, offering complementary programs and services to assist NH startups.

“We entered into an alliance agreement with Alpha Loft for the remainder of 2018,” Cookson says. “We are looking at integrating more of their programs, joint marketing, and eventually their programs will become part of the New Hampshire High Tech Council.”

According to Cookson, the council had not provided much in the way of services for startups in the past, and the alliance is an opportunity to do more to help startups succeed.

Visit NHHTC.org to learn more.

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