Gov. Brian Sandoval lauds small high-tech startups
RENO — When Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval first took office in early 2011, he freely admits it was a bleak time for the Silver State.
As the recession was wreaking havoc in the state, the unemployment rate stood at nearly 14 percent, 175,000 jobs were lost and it led the nation in bankruptcy filings. But the governor even at the outset remained optimist brighter days were ahead.
“It was my goal for Nevada to be on the ground floor of innovation,” Gov. Sandoval told a crowd at the Governor’s Conference on Business 2017 on Thursday at the Sparks Nugget. “It’s a technological evolution that will fundamentally revolutionize the way we live, the way we work, the way we relate to one another and it’s happening right here in our backyard.”
Gov. Sandoval said while the state is attracting iconic companies such as Amazon, and Tesla to the market, the real driver of the state’s resurgence is the development of a collection of innovative startups.
“Nevada is emerging as one of the most competitive business destinations in the world,” Sandoval said.
Of the 230,000 Nevada jobs that have been created since the governor entered the office, Sandoval added about 100,000 are from small businesses in the state.
Guest speaker Mridul Gautam, PhD, vice president for research and innovation at the University of Nevada, Reno, said many of the next generation of startups are being fostered at UNR.
“The upswing in smaller, high-tech knowledge-based, dynamic entrepreneurial companies are creating high-paying jobs here in Nevada that will remain here 50 years from today,” Gautam said. “And more often than not these companies are being fostered at our university.”
As startups continues to lead the state’s resurgence, Sandoval indicated more needs to be done to help them thrive, such as improving area infrastructure.
He mentioned USA Parkway at the Tahoe Regional Industrial Center should be open soon, three months ahead of schedule and studies are already under consideration for improvements to the Spaghetti Bowl in Reno.
“I knew we would never give up and it could be done,” Sandoval said. “While we’ve come a long way, we still have a long way to go.”
The conference attracted about 640 attendees, the most ever in the annual event’s six year history, which rotates every year between Reno-Sparks and Las Vegas.