It’s spring, and for the ninth year we’re celebrating a new crop of college and university students who are pursuing their own “Locally Grown Dreams.” This special group of students is using their educational experience to become not just job seekers but job creators.
The Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup Business Plan Competition showcases up-and-coming innovators who represent the future of our state’s thriving business community — and our economy. Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology has received 60 business plans for the annual competition, representing a wide range of students from varying academic fields. Not only does this competition provide the students with real-world feedback from more than 100 judges, but also the opportunity to compete for nearly $150,000 in cash prizes.
This year’s Governor’s Cup comes at a time where our state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has really flourished — a record number of programs, events and organizations have been created to support our entrepreneurs and their new business ideas, and we have more sources of capital available than ever before. Sources like crowd funding, business plan prizes, angel groups and venture capital mean it will be easier than ever for these students to pursue their dreams.
The Governor’s Cup was Nevada’s first statewide business plan competition, and we now have at least 11 more — a testament to the strength of entrepreneurship in our state. It’s also launched more than 25 new businesses, with student teams bringing their business concepts to life. Even more students have taken what they’ve learned from the experience and gone on to have major impacts on the Nevada businesses they’ve joined. Others have chosen to go back to the state’s campuses as college and university instructors, coaching a new generation of students competing in the Governor’s Cup.
As part of the competition, NCET’s Lt. Governor’s Award recognizes business ideas that employ clean, energy-efficient or renewable technologies and services — fields that are already proving themselves vital to Nevada and its future. Student plans focus on a wide variety of wind, solar and geothermal energy and business concepts.
As we all know, Nevada’s long-term economic health and stability hinges upon the creation of new and sustainable jobs, the diversification of the economy and the stimulation of small businesses. These students participating in the Governor’s Cup are taking a big step towards ensuring that long-term success.
I hope you’ll join us in celebrating these students’ achievements. You can witness the students’ presentations at the oral presentations on Wednesday at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. The next evening, we’ll announce the winners at the awards dinner, also at the Atlantis. Ticket and table sales are open, and your support will send a message to our young people — a message that supports innovation and new ideas for our state. For more information, visit www.NCET.org, or contact Dave Archer at 775-315-7635 or Dave@NCET.org.
Brian K. Krolicki is Nevada’s lieutenant governor.