Nevada’s reputation as a business-friendly state is well known, thanks to its location, climate, and the fact that there are no state business or personal income taxes. But did you know that Nevada also has state economic development programs designed to encourage new businesses to relocate in Nevada and existing businesses to expand — diversifying Nevada’s economy, increasing its economic wealth and benefiting companies and consumers alike? We spoke with Peter Wallish, Director, Rural Community and Economic Development, with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, who gave us a primer on a few of the state programs that your small business can take advantage of.

Basically, the entire state of Nevada can be likened to “one big enterprise zone” explains Wallish. There are tax abatements in both rural and urban areas for large businesses willing to move into the state. But there are also incentives for small companies that are already doing business in the state and want to expand, and for entrepreneurs new to the business world.

One important financing program in Nevada that is assisting small businesses and new entrepreneurs is the state Small Business Credit Initiatives (SSBCI). The SSBCI, which are funded by a Federal grant, are designed to assist small businesses with the often-difficult task of securing capital funding so they can grow, diversify and create new jobs. There are two components to Nevada’s SSBCI, advises Wallish:

First is the Collateral Support Program, which provides cash to participating financial institutions to enhance the collateral of a borrowing business when the lender determines that there is a shortfall. The borrowing business must be diversifying and increasing their number of jobs in Nevada. This program is designed for businesses with fewer than 250 employees that are applying for commercial loans, and most loans are in the $250,000 range. Eligible industries range from mining and manufacturing to media production, office operations, and qualified high-tech or green-tech businesses.

Second is the Microenterprise Initiative Program, which is designed to provide business development training and financial incentives to small business entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs are key to employment recovery in Nevada, says Wallish, since currently 87 percent of all businesses in Nevada are microenterprises. Monies will be made available to companies that wish to start new microenterprises in the state, and to existing micro-businesses that want to expand. To be eligible for financing through this program, the microenterprise must have five or fewer employees, must plan on hiring employees in the state, and can be established with a capital investment of $35,000 or less.

Another financing initiative is Battle Born. Wallish explains that this is the state’s venture capital program, and its mandate is to invest in small, high-growth businesses. Battle Born focuses on industries serving Nevada’s two basic needs of agriculture and water, as well as the aerospace, defense, energy, healthcare, IT, logistics and operations, manufacturing, mining and tourism and gaming sectors.

Wallish suggests that interested businesses also look into the state’s Procurement Outreach programs. Through its Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Nevada businesses are provided the knowledge and means to contract with the government, all at no cost to the business. In addition to educational seminars and workshops, assistance is given in marketing, preparation of proposals and bids and follow-up reports, and networking.

Wallish points out that the state’s Local Emerging Small Business Program is specifically designed to assist small businesses with contracting with state and local government agencies. It provides a certification for small businesses of all types and in all industries, and can be particularly helpful as a marketing tool in this competitive arena.

Nevada’s climate, location and natural resources have always attracted attention from business. Thanks to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the state’s economic development programs are now just as attractive and accessible for your small business.

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The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.