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Testimony in Support of Funding Innovation in Nevada (AB41) 2023

April 10, 2023

As a strong advocate for entrepreneurship, I am honored to provide my testimony of support of AB41 and the importance of entrepreneurism in our society. Entrepreneurism plays a critical role in the growth and development of our economy, creating jobs, driving innovation, and fostering competition.

During the 2021 legislative session, I wrote an op-ed in the Nevada Independent titled, Lawmakers must continue Nevada’s promise of entrepreneurship wherein I focused a bit on the Fourth Objective of the 2012 Moving Nevada Forward Economic Development plan. That objective was to “Catalyze Innovation in Core and Emerging Industries” and included developing a statewide innovation and commercialization structure, increasing industry collaboration with universities and Desert Research Institute (DRI) and building a support structure for entrepreneurs.

When I wrote the article, Nevada’s three research institutions had received $32.5 million from the Knowledge Fund resulting in $39.8 million generated in sponsored research contracts, $35.2 million in grants and donations and $1.2 million in commercialization revenue. Additionally, 17 companies and 573 jobs have been created, 38 companies had relocated to Nevada and 67 patents had been filed. UNR also reported the creation of eight spin-off companies and over 490 jobs.

Using the Dealroom platform, in 2011, Vegas startups and scaleups had an enterprise value of 1.6b dollars. In 2023, the enterprise value of startups in Vegas has grown to 41b dollars! The big leap was between 2019 and 2020, which one can assume is result of startups relocating during the pandemic.

AB41, as I understand it, puts Nevada in a position to further support entrepreneurism and the launch of high growth startups our State. The ability\opportunity to create home-grown startups, scale-ups, and unicorns is one of the most important services that the state and provide!

Now it is important to know the differences between a small business and startups. While small businesses and startups share some similarities, small businesses are typically focused on providing products or services to a local market, while startups are focused on creating and scaling new products or services that can disrupt entire industries. Recall how Draft Kings disrupted the entire gaming industry, an industry that Nevada led! Small businesses are often founded by entrepreneurs who are looking to create a stable, profitable business that can provide a steady income, while startups are often founded by entrepreneurs who are looking to create a high-growth company that can achieve significant market share and valuation.

Another key difference between small businesses and startups is their approach to risk. Small business owners typically take a more conservative approach to risk, seeking to minimize their exposure and maintain a steady income stream. In contrast, startup founders often embrace risk, seeking to create new products or services that have the potential to revolutionize entire industries. They are often willing to take on significant financial and personal risk in pursuit of their vision, with the expectation that their company will eventually become highly profitable and successful.

Innovation is more than an idea; it is successfully bringing a new disruptive idea to market!

Creating the means to increase incubators and accelerators along with access to Funding, Research, and support are some of the key tools that government can provide to grow Nevada entrepreneurism, high-growth startups, innovation, and talent.

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