July 20, 2023
CARSON CITY, Nev. – When Governor Joe Lombardo signed AB77, Nevada made history by becoming the first state in the nation to sign ‘Right to Start’ legislation. The bill aims at fostering entrepreneurship and economic growth, marking a significant milestone in the state’s commitment to empowering individuals and spurring young company growth. AB77 establishes a dedicated Office of Entrepreneurship within the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED).
“AB77 is a testament to Nevada’s commitment to creating an environment that fosters entrepreneurship and fuels economic growth,” said Governor Lombardo. “By working to remove unnecessary hurdles for new, young companies, we are empowering all our residents to bring their innovative ideas to life and contribute to our thriving economy. This legislation reinforces our state’s reputation as a destination for new businesses and sets the stage for future success.”
AB77, which embraces Right to Start principles that foster entrepreneurship growth and expand tactical opportunities for all, received broad bipartisan support and ensures that every Nevadan has the right to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, unburdened by unnecessary regulations and barriers. By looking at ways to eliminate red tape and streamline the process for starting a business, Nevada is paving the way for a continued vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that will drive job creation and economic prosperity.
“GOED will play a pivotal role in implementing AB77,” said Karsten Heise, GOED’s Senior Director of Strategic Programs and Innovation who will oversee the Office, which is expected to commence operation before the end of the year. “AB77 stands in the tradition and history of Nevada as a trailblazing, pioneering, and entrepreneurial-at-its-core-state. To support its successful execution, GOED will have a dedicated Office of Entrepreneurship with two full-time employees working to strengthen policies and programs supporting the growth of entrepreneurship in the state.”
The Office will be tasked with developing and tracking relevant data and metrics culminating in an annual status assessment of entrepreneurship in the State which will be crucial in informing legislators and economic developers.
“So far, we only have sporadic and anecdotal evidence at best and this dynamic regular assessment will be groundbreaking,” Heise said.
The Office of Entrepreneurship will work with stakeholders and organizations supporting entrepreneurship in the State to enhance the skills of entrepreneurs and provide support, guidance, and a step forward in the right direction. The Office will serve as the point of contact to assist businesses in operation for five years or less in their interactions with state agencies and, where appropriate, refer businesses to other state and local agencies that help businesses. The Office of Entrepreneurship will submit an annual report to the Legislative Commission that will include many key indicators and metrics for new, young companies such as state government contracts obtained, demographic, regional data, and recommendations for improving overall entrepreneurship in the state. The legislation encourages 5 percent of the total number of state government contracts to be awarded to businesses principally located in Nevada that are less than five years old.
Assembly Speaker, Steve Yeager, who sponsored the legislation, expressed his enthusiasm for the passing of this transformative bill. He stated, “AB77 is a game-changer for Nevada. It demonstrates our State’s unwavering commitment to removing barriers and empowering individuals to take charge of their entrepreneurial journeys. This legislation will help unleash the potential of our citizens, drive growth and economic development, and position Nevada as a national leader in entrepreneurship policy.”
Mike Kazmierski, CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN), lauded the passing of AB77 as a catalyst for attracting investment and talent to the State. He commented, “This bill positions Nevada as one of the most entrepreneurially friendly states in the nation and sends a clear message to the nation that our Governor and Legislature embrace startup growth as an important component of our State’s economy.”
Victor W. Hwang, the founder and CEO of Right to Start, stated, “Entrepreneurship is the cornerstone of economic prosperity in the 21st century. With the passage of this bill, Nevada takes a huge stride towards empowering its citizens and propelling economic growth. The dedication of Nevada’s leaders to creating a nurturing environment for entrepreneurs is a testament to their forward-thinking vision. The Right to Start Act will unlock opportunities for Nevadans who are striving to build their dreams, create jobs, and make an impact.”
Jason Grill, Head of Government Affairs of Right to Start believes this is a model for the rest of the nation, “Nevada is pioneering entrepreneurship opportunity and expansion as a major focus of economic development. Their leadership on the legislative and executive level, as well as in their business community, truly understand the great importance of entrepreneurs. It’s incredible to see what they’re doing collectively and seeing it all come together.”
About the Governor’s Office of Economic Development
Created during the 2011 session of the Nevada Legislature, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development is the result of a collaborative effort between the Nevada Legislature and the Governor’s Office to restructure economic development in the state. GOED’s role is to promote a robust, diversified and prosperous economy in Nevada, to stimulate business expansion and retention, encourage entrepreneurial enterprise, attract new businesses and facilitate community development.
The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada is a private/public partnership established in 1983. They are committed to adding quality jobs to the region by recruiting new companies, supporting the success of existing companies, and assisting newly forming companies, to diversify the economy and have a positive impact on the quality of life in Greater Reno-Sparks. For more information, go to www.edawn.org.
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