Nevada Putting Pieces Together

This is an OpEd I did for the Reno Gazette Journal in December 2012 regarding the resurgence of the Nevada economy through key stake holders.

Nevada Putting Pieces Together

The puzzle of how to diversify, strengthen and bring cutting-edge entrepreneurship to Nevada’s economy has been a test of endurance, innovation and strategic thinking. It has been a challenge that the state has confronted by connecting private investment with government support, attracting companies to relocate to Nevada and focusing on home-grown startups.

Today, those myriad efforts are all interlinking into a cohesive strategy that is gaining momentum and bringing a vibrant new economy to our state. The groundwork that has been laid is resulting in an entrepreneurial uprising of technology, green energy, IT infrastructure, distribution and manufacturing.

Here are three ways Nevada has positioned itself for success and utilized its economic potential:

The Legislature: Nevada Senate Bill 75, which passed in 2011, was a big step forward in government support for entrepreneurship. The legislation put $50 million of state money into venture capital and private equity to support the growth of companies that are diversifying Nevada’s economy and increase the return on investment for the state’s school fund. And, perhaps as important as the funding, the legislation united many of the key players in Nevada’s emerging new industries, connecting the people who are now driving innovation in the Silver State. Following SB 75, Assembly Bill 449 even further bolstered government support for economic development, adding a $10 million “Catalyst Fund” to support business growth and education.

Nonprofits: Nevada nonprofits have grown into a strength for the state. The Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization and many other nonprofits are funding, supporting and driving innovation in Nevada. Program’s like NCET’s Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup and the newly launched Project Vesto are seeking out the best business ideas in the state and putting money behind them. As NIREC explains Project Vesto, it is about “getting the right funding to the right entrepreneur at the right time.”

Private investment:Nevada has been fortunate to receive strong private investment over the past few years. Zappos bought the Las Vegas City Hall and plans to pump $350 million into downtown Las Vegas. Switch is a growing tech data company putting down roots in Las Vegas. Apple is building a new data center in Reno. Reno companies 3G Studios, Noble Studios and ShortStack are leading technology growth in Northern Nevada.

Private equity firms and venture capitalists are taking note, and Nevada is receiving an infusion of financial support that is speeding economic growth.

Dusty Wunderlich is a DCA Capital principal.