Governor lauds small high-tech startups for fueling Nevada resurgence
When Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval first took office in early 2011, it was a bleak time for the Silver State.
As the recession was wreaking havoc in the state, the unemployment rate stood at nearly 14 percent, thousands of jobs were lost and Nevada led the nation in bankruptcy filings. But the governor, even at the outset, remained optimist that brighter days were ahead.
“It was my goal for Nevada to be on the ground floor of innovation,” Sandoval told a crowd at the 6th annual Governor’s Conference on Business on Aug. 17 at the Nugget Hotel Casino in Sparks.
“It’s a technological evolution that will fundamentally revolutionize the way we live, the way we work, the way we relate to one another and it’s happening right here in our backyard.”
Sandoval said that, while the state is attracting iconic companies such as Amazon, and Tesla to the market, the real driver of the state’s resurgence is the development of a collection of innovative startups.
“Nevada is emerging as one of the most competitive business destinations in the world,” Sandoval said.
Of the 230,000 Nevada jobs that have been created since the governor entered the office, about 100,000 are from small businesses in the state, he said.
“We want to pay attention to the big names, but of the jobs that were created, 100,000 were created by small business,” Sandoval said in an interview with NNBW at the event. “We really want to encourage that because small business eventually turns into big business.”
Guest speaker Mridul Gautam, Ph.D., vice president for research and innovation at the University of Nevada, Reno, said many of the next generation of startups are being fostered at UNR.
“The upswing in smaller, high-tech knowledge-based, dynamic entrepreneurial companies are creating high-paying jobs here in Nevada that will remain here 50 years from today,” Gautam said. “And more often than not these companies are being fostered at our university.”
As startups continue to lead the state’s resurgence, Sandoval indicated more needs to be done to help them thrive, such as improving area infrastructure.
USA Parkway at the Tahoe Regional Industrial Center is opening this week, three months ahead of schedule, he said, and studies are already under consideration for improvements to the Spaghetti Bowl in Reno.
“I knew we would never give up, and it could be done,” Sandoval told the crowd. “While we’ve come a long way, we still have a long way to go.”
Sandoval indicated in his interview with NNBW that there are other difficulties confronting businesses in Nevada that the state must address. Those include attracting a skilled workforce, high prices in the residential market and uncertainties in the insurance marketplace.
The conference attracted about 640 attendees, the most ever in the event’s six year history, which rotates between Reno-Sparks and Las Vegas.
Since launching its new pediatric products two years ago, Neo Medical has seen a 35% growth in sales; moreover, the company has seen revenue grow 15% year-over-year since relocating to Sparks in late 2012.