Classes in entrepeneurship head for rural communities |

Classes in entrepeneurship head for rural communities

Laura Cianci

For the first time next spring rural small business owners and budding entrepreneurs can get advanced training that will help them grow their businesses, and public and private agencies are picking up the lion’s share of the tab.

“These classes have been primarily taught in the Reno and Las Vegas areas and cost $395 each,” said Kathy Carrico, state training director and NxLevel state administrator for the Nevada Small Business Development Center.

NxLevel is an in-depth 13-week program that helps business owners and entrepreneurs develop a business plan, and also provides management, marketing, accounting and legal training.

In addition to Las Vegas and Reno, classes will begin in Fallon on Feb. 21, Mesquite on Feb. 8, and Hawthorne and Lovelock on Feb. 28.

Until now, the classes have been primarily subsidized with $25,000 annual funding from Citibank.

“Helping small business owners and entrepreneurs with training makes it easier for them to get access to capital that can help them grow. It ultimately benefits everyone in the community, banks included,” said Janis Tarter, a Citibank spokesperson.

This year the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, an arm of the Nevada Commission for Economic Development, provided an $18,000 grant to expand the program to rural communities. The Pauite Shoshone Tribe provided another $6,000 to enable 20 tribal entrepreneurs to attend the classes.

Until now, such training was out of reach for most rural business owners in terms of distance and money.

“You don’t know what you don’t know in business, and the most successful entrepreneurs in our country will never stop educating themselves,” Carrico said. “Our job is to make sure the small business owners can make well-informed decisions on how to start or grow their business. The success rate that this program offers is huge.”

A national study shows that the success rate of business owners nearly triples in the five years after they complete the NxLevel program, Carrico says.

McCauley (she doesn’t use her first name), one of the owners of Salon Muse at Mayberry Landing in Reno, couldn’t agree more.

“I wished we had taken it before we negotiated on our lease. There were little things we didn’t notice until it was too late. But our landlord has been a good guy to us,” she said.

McCauley and her business partner, Ashley Marks, had years of experience in salons, but still McCauley says she learned a lot of valuable information in the class.

“Just going back and making a plan on what you’re going to do every month, that helps a lot, ” she said. “At the end of the class you could tell if your business was going to be successful.”

Carrico said the class helps entrepreneurs focus and come up with a plan that will work.

“Small business owners in the rural communities are one of the most underserved in the country. Our mission is to strengthen the economy through small businesses. We can no longer ignore rural Nevada simply due to remote locations,” said Carrico, who made it her New Year’s resolution to provide greater outreach to those communities.