Have a new business in Clark County that could use venture capital funding, but don’t know how to get it? A new business incubator program by StartUpNV can help.
The Las Vegas-based nonprofit received $600,000 from Clark County last week to launch and operate Incubate Vegas, a free 10-week incubator program designed to provide educational opportunities and mentoring to first-time entrepreneurs and early-stage startups.
According to Jeff Saling, founder and CEO of StartUpNV, the incubator will focus on “scalable businesses,” or those with the potential for rapid growth.
Clark County Community and Economic Development Director Shani Coleman said the $600,000 grant is part of the $400 million in American Rescue Plan funds the county received.
She said the incubator will also focus on connecting with disadvantaged communities, such as women and people of color, when it comes to entrepreneurship.
“I think it’s no secret that the tech industry has a lot of people who all look the same,” Coleman said. “We want to make sure that all people have access to the great opportunities that entrepreneurship and working for or starting a technology company can bring.”
In 2021, a recent report from the Pew Research Center found that whites will make up 67 percent of the STEM workforce, Asians will make up 13 percent, and blacks will make up 9 percent of the STEM workforce, while Hispanics will make up 8 percent.
Coleman said Clark County would like to see about half of the program’s participants be women or people of color, but the real goal is to help entrepreneurs take the next step in growing their businesses.
“(Incubate Vegas) really helps people identify their niche, or where it’s possible, and help them take that idea to the next stage of creation and give them the training, tools, and guidance to make that happen. do it,” he said.
Although the focus is on supporting diverse entrepreneurs, according to Saling, enrollment is open to anyone who wants to grow their business. He said the only requirement is that the entrepreneur or business be located in Clark County.
Incurate Vegas will have four 10-week sessions beginning in spring 2023, with the last program in fall 2024, according to Saling. In total, StartUpNV expects about 100 entrepreneurs to go through the program.
He said founders often struggle when transitioning to other aspects of starting a business, and hopes the program will allow them to become more comfortable with unfamiliar tasks as well as attract funding from investors and VC groups.
“A lot of times founders will be experts in whatever they do,” Saling said. “But they don’t know other things, like, ‘How do I set up this business?’ Should it be an LLC? Should it be a C Corp?’”
Registration is now open online for Incubate Vegas at lp.startupnv.org/incubate-vegas-1.