Unbiased Connectivity: Nevada’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
The Nevada known to most of the world is not a global entrepreneurial hub but is instead the most recognizable gaming and vacation destination in the world, boasting the world’s largest, most extravagant casinos and event centers. However, Nevada is beginning to evolve, and rapidly. Conventions like CES (International Consumer Electronics Show), NAB (National Association of Broadcasters), and CTIA Wireless collectively bring in over a quarter of a million visitors annually. I have seen entrepreneurs in Las Vegas and Reno working hard to build a viable tech and entrepreneurial culture in a relatively short period of time. With one of the country’s most business-friendly environments and neighboring tech centers such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Beach and Seattle-Redmond, Nevada is ideally poised for rapid growth. In May, 2014, Entrepreneur magazine rightfully named Reno and Las Vegas as the top two (out of 3 best) alternative start-up cities in the country.
The Vegas Tech community experiences consistent growth due to the strong commitment and dedication of its members and support from the larger general public. Local corporations like Zappos and SWITCH sponsor events, ranging from organizing notable entrepreneurial speaker series to sponsoring the Vegas Tech group’s attendance at national events like SXSW in Austin, Texas.
Vegas Tech’s credibility is enhanced by its status as an early backer of the Downtown Project, which has set aside $50 million community-based, socially-conscious entrepreneurial companies as incentive for entrepreneurs from across the country and around the globe to migrate to Las Vegas with the support of organizations like Venture for America and Startup Nevada. The Downtown Project aims to offer startup capital to entrepreneurs and companies that strictly believe in fostering the downtown community based on the premises that entrepreneurship can be driven individualistically and that Vegas Tech and the Downtown Project will encourage entrepreneurs to start businesses and live in downtown Las Vegas.
Vegas Tech’s Downtown Project initiative receives tremendous support from Nevadans who love to see the non-gaming economy grow whether or not they live in Las Vegas. In Reno, Reno Collective and various public economic catalyst organizations are spearheading initiatives to energize the local startup base and to woo large enterprises like Apple and Tesla to open offices. We also launched Venture Loft, an initiative to empower entrepreneurs to be resourceful and ask the right questions and to help entrepreneurs to come up with plans for sustainable enterprises, which works with local incubators SciTech and The Parallel Innovations Lab to organize various events to foster entrepreneurial ecosystems and clusters in the state. We are also exploring ways to make Nevada a leader in nanotechnology and health sciences innovation and commercialization with the Explore Nano initiative based out of Las Vegas which endeavors to understand, educate and expedite the mass adoption of nanotechnology enabled products. As a result of the common spirit of this entrepreneurial collaboration, we are pushing every day to foster the local entrepreneurial scene.
Jay Maharjan is the author of the new book Winning Lessons for Entrepreneurs in the Conceptual Economy. He started the @4entrepreneur initiative in 2007, and is also the co-founder of Venture Loft. Jay is passionate about supporting entrepreneurial initiatives. Jay has studied under the finest business minds and worked with some of the most prominent business leaders. Based on his personal mentor Peter Drucker’s Questions based assessment model, and the ‘conceptual’ thinking that he has been writing about, Jay founded a program to mentor and coach entrepreneurs and the new workforce. Photo source.