Planning begins for events to boost entrepreneurship |

Planning begins for events to boost entrepreneurship

NNBW staff

Thinking of the event as Artown for entrepreneurs, northern Nevada business leaders last week began kicking around ideas for a week-long event to encourage development of new businesses.

At this point, little is set except for the date Feb. 24 through March 3 and the overall sponsorship of the Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.

Within that week, organizations ranging from businesses to schools to nonprofits will be encouraged to conduct open houses, seminars, meet-and-greets with successful entrepreneurs or any number of other possibilities.

“This is not one event happening at one location,” said David Archer, managing director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology. “Everybody can do something.”

The point of the week nationwide is simple: Increase public awareness of entrepreneurship. On a national basis, the week is sponsored by The Kauffman Foundation, Inc. magazine and The New York Times. (For details, go to

In northern Nevada, the initial push came from Sheri Elpern, a co-owner of SQI Inc., a Reno-based software integration company.

One of her goals, Elpern said last week, is opening the eyes of teens and young adults to the possibilities in creation of their own businesses.

Deborah Prout, executive director of the Nevada Microenterprise Initiative, a lender to tiny start-ups, said she also wants the event to draw currently employed workers who would be able to better their financial status if they owned their own companies.

Development of entrepreneurship in Nevada, particularly in the generations that follow the Baby Boomers, is a key piece of the state’s economic future, Archer said. He noted that planning under way for both the Reno-based Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada and the Carson City-based Northern Nevada Development Authority strongly encourages creation of homegrown companies.

The informal group that began thinking about Entrepreneur Week will get together again on Nov. 13 to begin assembling plans for specific events by participating companies, schools and nonprofits.