The Las Vegas economy is in the midst of a major change.
We have created one of the most advantageous policy environments for entrepreneurs, our economy is becoming more diverse, and industries built around innovation are beginning to emerge. According to a recent analysis released in May by the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranks fifth in the nation for business startup activity, behind only Miami; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles and San Diego.
Despite this momentum, there is a missing link that, when complete, will advance critical research needs, help develop more quality workers and unlock the full potential of our region’s innovation economy.
The Harry Reid Technology Park at UNLV seeks to improve the resources available for entrepreneurs and bridge the gap between the private sector and Nevada’s largest university, while bolstering research efforts within the state. If we are going to accelerate our progress, there has never been a more important moment to focus on developing this centralized location that will provide hands-on learning experiences for students.
Home to a vast majority of the state’s population, Southern Nevada still lags behind competing markets in states such as California, Arizona and Utah in providing a centralized technology park to further innovation. The existence of a technology park in our region would not only catalyze economic diversification, but also spur an entrepreneurship environment that would support long-term growth of the regional economy.
Southern Nevada’s narrative as a place for business is growing rapidly. With the groundbreaking of the first high-tech-oriented building within the technology park set for this fall, this effort could further our reputation as a headquarters for technological thought leadership in the state.
As business owners, executives and managers, and members of the community, it is our mission and responsibility to find ways to help promote and improve the state’s efforts in improving career opportunities that will create the workforce pipeline for today and tomorrow, in addition to stabilizing our regional economy.
The launch of the technology park is a step forward, and should continue to be supported to accelerate our region’s emerging innovation ecosystem, boost job creation, and help unlock the full potential of our economy.
Jared Smith is chief operating officer and Dan Stewart is on the board of directors for the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.