By: Jared Fisher
Small businesses are the backbone of any thriving, successful city. According to the Small Business Administration, over the last two decades, small businesses have generated 64 percent of the new jobs in the US and have paid 44 percent of the total private payroll. Small businesses are great for a city’s economy. Las Vegas is no different.
And yet, though Nevada has no income or capital gains tax and fewer regulations than many other states, small business owners in Las Vegas are struggling. According to a study conducted by the consumer finance website ValuePenguin, Las Vegas ranked third-worst in the nation for small businesses.
As a Las Vegas small business owner myself—I own three bicycle shops and a tour company—I’ve experienced first hand the challenge of starting and maintaining a business in this ever-changing and fast-growing metropolis. It hasn’t been easy. That is why, as governor, I will make it a priority to see to it that the courageous, hardworking and dedicated small business owners and entrepreneurs in Las Vegas—and in cities and towns across Nevada—receive the resources they need to thrive.
The following are my proposed ideas on how to make Nevada the most business-friendly state in the country.
1. Make it easier for entrepreneurs to get loans
Right now it can be a challenge for an entrepreneurs to get a microloan from a bank in Las Vegas. The reason for the difficulty lies in a shortage of microloan lending companies in Southern Nevada. At the time of writing, there are only two! If more would-be entrepreneurs could get a loan for 10, 20 or 50,000 dollars, it would be easier for them to take the necessary steps to launch their businesses. Even a loan for just $2,000 can go a long way for business owners who are just starting out. I propose providing incentives (in the form of tax breaks) to microloan companies so that may feel encouraged to open branches in Las Vegas.
2. Spread the word about the free classes and mentorship programs available for entrepreneurs
There are a number of great free resources for entrepreneurs in Nevada, including the excellent Nevada nonprofit Entrepreneurs Assembly. They provide free monthly trainings and mentoring sessions for small business owners and entrepreneurs. I recently attended one their meetings in Henderson and was impressed by the thoroughly-researched handouts and PowerPoint presentations and the thoughtful attention their instructors and mentors provided.
Unfortunately, many Southern Nevada residents are not aware of these programs’ existence. I propose implementing a strategy to increase public awareness for such organizations and programs. Small business owners need not struggle alone—there’s an entire community of people wanting to help.
3. Strengthen and refocus our education system
It has been found that cities and states with a close network of quality schools and universities tend to do better at attracting small businesses and startups, especially in the tech industry. Startups need a high quality talent pool and will move their brands to cities where they can find them. While Las Vegas may lack an Ivy League school, by prioritizing our technology education (both information technology and applied) we can create a niche of top talent in several specific, in-demand fields.
4. Expedite the licensing process for businesses looking to relocate to Nevada
Most large companies looking to relocate or open up a business in a new state must go through an extensive and tedious permitting process. This can sometimes take years! I would implement a 120-day approval process statewide for all companies wanting to open or relocate to Nevada. No one likes paperwork and endless red tape. By making the transition process as efficient and fast as possible, we can show big and small companies alike that we’re serious when we we say we want them move their headquarters to our great state.
5. Take steps to encourage growth of female-owned businesses in Las Vegas
Women own 30 percent of small businesses, Leanna Jenkins, executive director of the Nevada Women’s Business Center, recently told the Las Vegas Review Journal. What’s more, female entrepreneurs are launching new businesses at a rate that is 1.5 times greater than the general population. A 2016 report found that women-owned businesses are creating more jobs and generating more revenue post-recession than the national average. Thus, helping more women succeed in business will help the overall economy in Las Vegas and the state as a whole.
According to a report cited in the Review Journal, 75,600 businesses in Las Vegas are owned by women. We can increase that number by boosting awareness of the free business classes, mentorship programs and work spaces provided by the Nevada Women’s Business Center, for instance. The Nevada Women’s Business Center also offers microloans and small business loans through the The Nevada Business Opportunity Fund. Securing funding, as previously mentioned, can be a struggle for business owners, but particularly for female business owners, who, as Jenkins reports, only receive four percent of micro and small business loans.
By spreading awareness of the local resources and funding options available to female entrepreneurs—and entrepreneurs in general—we can help ensure the success of more small businesses in Las Vegas.
About Fisher for Nevada: Jared Fisher is a Las Vegas businessman and 2018 candidate in the Nevada governor election. Mr. Fisher is running on a platform for positive, productive leadership for a Healthy Nevada, which includes a focus on a diversified economy, a strong educational system and renewable energy. For live updates from the campaign, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.