NCET explore business and technology
In the forests of the Sierra or the deserts of Nevada, natural ecosystems thrive through the interaction of their many components — plants and animals — with their natural environments. Each species plays an important role in the success of the ecosystem.
The same is true of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in northern Nevada. From inventors through investors, from academic researchers through management consultants, hundreds of individuals play important roles in the success of a thriving system.
The University of Nevada, Reno, Innevation Center — powered by Switch provides yet another important component in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the region.
The center’s location along Sinclair Street, with one foot in downtown and one foot in Midtown, marks an important step by the university to make itself accessible to the entrepreneurial and technology communities.
Inside the building, a makerspace provides an impressive array of 3D printers, CNC equipment, and other advanced development and prototyping tools for the future of manufacturing. Meeting rooms, co-working spaces and offices for startup companies abound. (Most of the furniture was designed by Switch founder and CEO Rob Roy, who creates furniture when he’s not reshaping the data industry.)
But the greatest value of The Innevation Center to the entrepreneurial ecosystem isn’t found inside its brick walls. Instead, the value of the center arises from the relationships it fosters between UNR researchers, faculty and students and the inventors, investors and industrial communities of Nevada.
Jim Sacherman, the experienced technologist and entrepreneur who serves as director of the Innevation Center, explains its role is the creation of links in a multitude of directions — between inventors who need to rent UNR research facilities, between top students looking to work on innovative projects and local companies, between investors and researchers with ideas that might become profitable products.
In many instances, the center will be working with projects so early in their development that no one is certain whether their ideas have any merit.
Some of the connections are likely to arise spontaneously. For instance, the experienced early-stage investors of Sierra Angels are conducting their regular meetings at the center these days, just down the hall from the desks where technology entrepreneurs are shaping new companies.
No one can begin to know all the benefits that will flow from The Innevation Center, and even Sacherman acknowledges that the possibilities continue to unfold.
But no one should doubt the university’s concerted effort to open itself to the entrepreneurial community, to become an accessible and important part of the creation of a new economy in northern Nevada.
All the elements of the environmental ecosystem depend on one another, and all will benefit from the strength of The Innevation Center.
Learn more about the facilities of The Innevation Center and the connections it fosters during NCET’s Tech Wednesday event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 10, at The Innevation Center, 450 Sinclair St. More information and registration is at www.ncet.org/category/tech-wednesdays/
Dave Archer is President/CEO of NCET, which produces events to help individuals and businesses explore and use technology. This column first appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal.