How to Start a Business in Dover & Business Resources

Thank you for choosing Dover as a location for your business. We look forward to seeing your business prosper with us and encourage you to connect with the following free resources to assist you in starting or expanding your business:

New Hampshire Small Business Development Center

The New Hampshire Small Business Development Center (NHSBDC) and its certified business advisors provide highly individualized, confidential advice to New Hampshire enterprises at no cost. Advisors work with clients throughout the business life cycle at every growth stage. The NHSBDC helps businesses who are just starting, seeking capital, bringing new products to market, improving operations, and exiting through a sale or generational transition.

For more information, visit

New Hampshire Division of Economic Development

The Division of Economic Development aids in obtaining permits necessary to establish or grow a business. They provide business and technical assistance for manufacturers, grant assistance for recruiting and training employees, subsidized technical assistance from the University of New Hampshire and Dartmouth College, technical assistance to New Hampshire companies interested in procuring federal and state contracts, prompt responses to questions related to state government, tours of available industrial and office real estate, and aid with site selection.

For more information, visit

Business Registration

The City of Dover does not require a business registration, but depending on the type of business, registration is required with the Secretary of State's Office:

Find more information at

Local Permits

Local permits may be required for change of building use, fit-ups, land use approval and site review, and health and safety. Visit the City's Inspection Department and Planning Department websites for more information on permits:

Inspections website:

Planning website:


The City of Dover regulates most temporary and permanent signage through Section 170-32 of the city's zoning ordinance; the code addresses sign dimensions and uses in each of the city's zoning districts. Click here for an interactive map with zoning for each Dover parcel. Sign permitting can be discussed with our Zoning Administrator Paul Crouser. Contact him at with questions regarding specific signage rules and regulations.

Business Location Real Estate Resources

Search for commercial property for sale or lease through the following websites:

Dover Business Incentive Programs

Opportunity Zones

Investors can defer capital gains on earnings that have been reinvested in the zones through Opportunity Funds. Opportunity Funds are private sector investment vehicles that invest at least 90% of their capital in Opportunity Zones. Long-term investments maintained for over 10 years do not have to pay additional capital gains taxes on earnings from Opportunity Zone investments.

Dover’s Economic Revitalization Zone Tax (ERZ) Credit 

An Economic Revitalization Zone, or ERZ, is a tax credit program detailed in state law RSA 162-N. An ERZ offers a short-term business tax credit against the business profits and enterprise taxes for projects that create one or more new full-time job(s) and provides capital investment in the business during a calendar year. Five Dover areas qualify for inclusion in the state's ERZ program.


Dover’s Community Revitalization Tax Incentive (RSA 79-E)

Community Revitalization Tax Incentive RSA 79-E is a state law that encourages investment in downtowns and village centers. It provides a tax incentive for the rehabilitation and active use of under-utilized older buildings and, in so doing, aims to promote strong local economies and smart, sustainable growth as an alternative to sprawl. The tax incentive must be adopted at the local level before it can be offered to property owners.

The City of Dover has adopted RSA 79-8 and has designated two qualifying locations to encourage investment in the downtown core and rehabilitate under-utilized buildings. The building must be a qualifying structure to qualify for the tax credit; a qualifying structure is a building located in a district officially designated by the municipality master plan, or by zoning ordinance, as a downtown, town center, central business district or village center. In addition, the value of the rehabilitation must be equal to at least 220% of a building's pre-rehab assessed value, agreed to by the developer in the form of a guaranteed tax assessment. Finally, the proposed substantial rehabilitation must provide a public benefit. For more information, contact the Department of Planning and Community Development at 603-516-6008.

RSA 79-E locations in Dover: 

Dover Economic Loan Program (DELP)

The Dover Economic Loan Program can provide partial financial assistance to help ensure the viability of a promising business venture. Open to sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, startups, expansions, and relocations. It can also help businesses modernize, build, or acquire needed equipment or machinery, provide job training, or infuse a venture with working capital. For more information, contact the Department of Planning and Community Development at 603-516-6008. 

New Hampshire Business Incentive Programs


This program provides a 50/50 cash match grant of $750 to $100,000 for customized training of a company’s employees.

For more information, visit

New Hampshire Research & Development Tax Credit

The Research and Development Tax Credit, available through the Department of Revenue Administration, enables businesses to apply for tax credits on new research and development costs they can use toward business taxes. The credit can be carried forward for up to five years.

For more information, visit

Commercial Energy Savings Programs

NH Saves Energy Efficiency Programs

NHSaves' utility partners offer a wide variety of rebates on the products and technologies that help New Hampshire residents, businesses and towns save energy and money.

For more information, visit

Federal Solar Tax Credit

The federal solar tax credit allows 26% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from federal taxes. The tax credits apply to residential and commercial systems, with no cap on its value.

For more information, visit

Financial Assistance & Additional Resources

U.S. Small Business Administration-NH District Office (NH SBA)

  • Financial assistance for new or existing businesses through guaranteed loans made by area bank and nonbank lenders.
  • Assistance to businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals through the Minority Enterprise Development Program.
  • Women's Business Ownership Representatives are available to advise women business owners.
  • Special loan programs are available for businesses involved in international trade.
  • If you're a veteran, you can get business counseling and information about SBA-guaranteed loans.

For more information, visit, or call 603-225-1400

Strafford Economic Development Corporation (SEDC)

Non-profit business lenders providing business finance and technical assistance to Strafford County, New Hampshire. The organization helps eligible businesses to meet finance needs for real estate, facility improvements, working capital, and machinery & equipment.

For more information visit, or contact SEDC at or 603-749-2211

New Hampshire Business Finance Authority

The New Hampshire Business Finance Authority works with New Hampshire’s banking, business, and economic development sectors to develop and implement programs that expand the availability of credit in the state.

For more information, visit, or contact NHBFA at or 603-415-0190


Free mentoring to new and established businesses in New Hampshire.

For more information, visit