Hosted by Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NCET), the Entrepreneur Expo is in its fifth year. NCET Executive Director Dave Archer said the 100 or so vendors from both the private and public sector were chosen because their products and services specifically help small businesses. Ninety-five percent of Nevada businesses have fewer than 20 employees, according to Archer.
“More people are trying to do their own thing,” Archer said. “I call it ‘necessity entrepreneurship.’ People have run out of job hunting opportunities and are thinking of going out and starting up a business as their only remaining alternative.”
This is a perfect time to start a business, Archer said. Two or three years ago office and retail space was obscenely expensive, he said, as opposed to today’s lower prices. Also, companies have laid off so many people that they have to go out and hire independent consultants and contractors — the kind whose entrepreneurial spirit draws them to the expo.
Starting a business also takes money, which Archer acknowledged is difficult to come by these days. As a possible solution, he said, one of the expo’s exhibitors will be the Nevada Micro-enterprise Intitiative, a nonprofit that is funded in part by the Small Business Administration that makes business loans as large as $35,000
David Roberts, a sole proprietor who provides consulting in the renewable energy arena through his business Marketing Green Power, said the expo’s networking and educational opportunities are a real asset. But that is only part of the story for Roberts.
“The intangible is the informal, even friendly atmosphere of the entire event, that obviously trickles down from the top,” Roberts said. “... This ‘tone’ I’m referring to sets the expo apart from the more impersonal feeling of typical business conferences and makes for a less intimidating, more effective networking and learning environment for the small business person.”
“We do commercial advertising photography with a lot of different facets: corporate executive portraits, location, food ...” said Frank Haxton, owner and photographer for Digiman Studio in Reno and one of today’s exhibitors. “The expo is just a great place for us to showcase the work that we do to the clients we really target. That’s the best part about the NCET. These are the people directly we want to do biz with.”
The expo is being held at the end of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Business Week, put on by the College of Business. Business Week has featured networking and information sessions and workshops on topics from community service to obtaining internships at Fortune 500 companies. Today’s activities include a diversity workshop at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.nnhra.org.
For a list of exhibitors and speakers for today’s expo, visit http://ncetexpo.org/reno/.