Small business connector to help student entrepreneurs

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North Las Vegas City Hall building where the Small Business Center is located. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, people were stuck indoors for hours on end. However, being locked down for those few months led many to discover a hidden talent or craft from welding spoons, making rings or even whipping up a batch of pet-friendly, scented candles. 

Now that many have slowly begun to partially rediscover their lives without the ensuing threat of COVID-19, can they turn quarantined passion projects into a steady income? With the help of the North Las Vegas City Council, there is a new way to utilize their skills to make a livable, lasting income. 

The NLV City Council opened their Small Business Connector on Oct. 12, 2021, with partner UNLV, where it will assist aspiring entrepreneurs and students in launching and maintaining their small businesses. The ACCESS Community Capital and UNLV’s Nevada Small Business Development Center have partnered together in the opening of the connector, which is located in NLV City Hall.

The Small Business Connector will offer business licences and permits to new entrepreneurs so they can legally run their business in Nevada, allowing for more professionalism and vigilance with their finances. 

The Access Community Capital will provide “low-cost loans’‘ for startups and small businesses that are either woman, veteran or minority-owned, while the UNLV Small Business Development Center will offer free advice and consultations. 

This establishment will not only cater to entrepreneurs, but also consist of a state-run Employ NV Business Hub for jobseekers and employers. 

The first-of-its-kind Small Business Connector will be a one-stop shop for jobseekers, startup businesses and small businesses in the Valley. However, will this local resource actually help student entrepreneurs? 

After speaking with student and owner of clothing brand, WingIt Style, Trace O’Leary said, “Any great piece always comes from multiple ideas of multiple people. There are always many people inspiring me and helping me throughout the backstory of my creations, so establishing a community of people you are inspired by is very important in owning a small business.” 

The accessibility and networking aspects of this resource will help UNLV business owners meet other creators and further build their community. Having people to trust and work with while starting a small business is crucial for marketing and establishing credibility, whether it be a growing clothing brand or homemade earring business. 

As a designer and owner, O’Leary utilizes this resource because of its convenience and available opportunities. The variety of resources offered, such as licensing, permitting and consulting, allows entrepreneurs to have everything they need in one place. 

Student entrepreneur and owner of the brand ALTRUE Airius Fa’afiu said, “Figuring out the legalities in business is even more problematic because certain permits cost even more money. All of it sounds useful, and a wise business owner would take advantage of any resources possible.”

The financial risk that small business owners must endure can be detrimental to the process of obtaining legal permits and licenses because of their expense. The Small Business Connector’s guidance for the legalities of a business will help put owners at ease in this field. 

Naturally, as students, it is difficult to deal with busy schedules and somehow make a livable income. Whether you are drowning in orders or in dire need of a sale, the Small Business Connector is versatile, will assist your small business needs according to your schedule and help turn your talents into a career. The NLV Small Business Connector is essentially the tool box for successful entrepreneurs moving up.

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