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Reno-Sparks ranks No. 1 most entrepreneurial area of its size



cityofreno-189x300-7318340-7591460A national think tank study has cited Reno-Sparks as the most up-and-coming entrepreneurial community in the United States in its population size.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation published “The Most Entrepreneurial Metropolitan Areas (MSAs)?” in November. The Reno-Sparks MSA ranked No. 1 for per capita startups having five to 49 employees from 1990-2011 compared with other MSAs of similar size.

The founders of Pinoccio, a microcontroller designed to build and link projects to each other and the web, started their business in Reno 18 months ago. Chief Technology Officer Eric Jennings says, “We chose Reno as one of the locations for our Pinoccio offices because of its competitive cost of living, quality of life, strong ties to the engineering school at the University and its proximity to the Bay Area.”

The Kauffman study identified the Reno-Sparks area as the “the most consistent standout” nationally. While this area’s per capita startup rate was affected by the Great Recession, the area was still above average even during 2007-2011.

The study also underscores the economic significance of Reno-Sparks’ educational resources and institutions, and workforce development programs.

“Reno has an unsurpassed quality of life that attracts entrepreneurs. From our Tier One University, world renowned recreation and our new Midtown entertainment and retail area just south of the river to abundant, cutting edge business support services, entrepreneurs find all the features they need to excel,” said Reno Council Member Sharon Zadra, who is also a board member of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN).

The Kauffman Foundation’s research shows that all new job creation in the United States is the result of entrepreneurial startups. In researching trends, the Foundation found that startups tend to employ younger workers. There is a correlation to a supply of young, talented, educated workers and startup creation rates.

Reno is the first city in the West among cities across the country involved in the Kauffman Foundation project “1 Million Cups.” It’s an education-based forum that brings local early-stage startups together for mentoring and other advice on Wednesday mornings at Swill Coffee and Wine. There are Startup Weekends, TEDx events, venture funding programs and acceleration funds through the city of Reno to support entrepreneurship.

Reno Council Member Hillary Schieve, who spearheads a Technology and Innovation Committee at the City of Reno, said, “This is such an honor coming from one of the most highly respected foundations in the country; however I am not surprised as our entrepreneurial and startup community in Reno is exploding with talent all across the board. The examples of Midtown and places like the Reno Collective speak volumes to what a community like Reno can accomplish on a national scale.”

“This is a testament of the positive work by all our community and business leaders who have worked tirelessly to kick start the region’s economy by pulling together and spreading the message that the Reno-Sparks business and economic climate is indeed unique and diverse,” said Sparks Mayor Geno Martini. “For the Foundation to take notice validates what so many of us know and foreshadows what I believe is yet to come.”

“This is no real surprise to me,” said Sparks City Councilman Ed Lawson. “The Reno-Sparks metropolitan area is showing real signs of bursting with innovative and entrepreneurship, and there are tangible signs of an economic turnaround that can no longer go unnoticed. To have the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation take notice indicates that the economic rebound in our region is real.”

“It is exciting to see Reno ranked so high in the Kauffman report as an entrepreneurial metropolitan area. The report shows Reno has ranked consistently high on a per capita basis for startups from five to 49 employees. This should be no surprise to anyone who has been engaged in the entrepreneurial community here in the past few years,” said Mike Kazmierski, CEO of EDAWN. “This community was built by entrepreneurs and is very friendly to entrepreneurs. The recent efforts by EDAWN, UNR and many other groups in the region to support and connect the entrepreneurs in our region have further accelerated the excitement and energy of our start-up community.”

The MSA study ranked Reno-Sparks among areas with populations of about 250,000 to 500,000 people. It considered statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis in coming to its conclusions.

The Foundation, which is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, focuses its more than $2 billion in assets on supporting innovative and research-based programs that increase entrepreneurship and educational achievements.

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