Training for entrepreneurs set in outlying communities |

Training for entrepreneurs set in outlying communities

NNBW staff

Russell Upton, laid off last summer from a job he’d held with the Lyon County government for six years, learned how to launch his own business through his experience with a NxLeveL for Entrepreneurs course.

But just as important, he got feedback and support from his 19 classmates.

“The NxLeveL class taught me how to identify and evaluate my own talents that could maybe become a new business,” says Upton, a resident of Silver Springs who launched Upton’s Locksmith & Security Systems after completion of the 13-week class.

The new firm, he says, puts to work skills in security systems he developed during his employment with the county. Classmates suggested that he add locksmithing.

The Nevada Small Business Development Center, which oversees the NxLeveL courses, this summer will offer them at a reduced price in Yerington, Winnemucca, Virginia City and Carson City.

Kathy Halbardier, herself a veteran business owner who taught Upton’s class, says an important element of NxLeveL is helping students such as Upton discover their strengths.

“What we do in NxLeveL, after the initial feasibility is completed, is take a look at past employment, trainings, certifications and overall areas of interest,” Halbardier says. “It was clear to me that Russell was ready to diversify his existing knowledge base of security systems.”

And members of the Silver Springs class were enthusiastic in their support of each other.

“The people care for each other beyond words. We started, and ended, with 20 students,” Halbardier says. “Do you realize what it means for 20 people to stick out anything for 13 weeks together, much less a business planning course?”

In 13 weeks, Upton obtained a business license, designed a logo and marketing materials, set up his legal structure and began to solicit business. He finished his business plan and launched his business.

Kathy Carrico, statewide training director and NxLeveL administrator for the Nevada Small Business Development Center, said more than 2,000 people have taken the training form about 25 locations.

While the training ordinarily is priced at $700 per person, the four rural Nevada classes this spring have received financial support from the Western Nevada Development District and the Governor’s Office on Economic Development that allows the 13-week course to be offered for $95.

The spring classes, which meet one evening a week from 5:45-8:45 p.m., begin in mid-March.

For registration and other details, log onto and click on the NxLeveL page.