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Small business resource fair welcomes ‘dreamers and doers’ of Nevada

A resource fair on Wednesday welcomed Nevada entreprenuers and small business owners looking for advice and state support as a way to re-energize the fast-recovering economy of the Las Vegas Valley.

The fair, hosted by the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, filled the Sahara West Library in Las Vegas with the hubbub of economic activity — or at least, the idea of it.

Marcel Shaerer, deputy director of the department, said the event was initially supposed to be held several years ago, but it was postponed several times because of pandemic-related health measures. But organizers felt an in-person event was crucial to networking opportunities for the attendees.

“(The fair) is organized and dedicated to all the dreamers and doers out there because they need to connect the dots differently after the pandemic,” Schaerer said. “We need to move forward very differently, operating at a different level and those are the challenges and those resources out there can help.”

More than 50 exhibiting state and local government departments and nonprofits were at the resource fair offering guidance in all things starting and growing a business. Booth topics included business licensing, hiring, tax help, funding and networking.

Additionally, two learning sessions were offered on e-commerce basics and business operation improvement tips.

Las Vegas resident Mia Blanco visited the fair to get advice on how to grow her flooring business, Master Build LLC. She and her business partner started the company in 2020 after a career in property management. They work to work for themselves, she said.

“It was a good opportunity to start, but it’s been challenging especially for him because he’s the one who has to go out there and try to find clients because it’s not easy to go and knock door-to-door,” Blanco said.

Other attendees said they attended to find new possible loans or grants. Roy Fuñe, a real estate professional in Las Vegas for the last four years, said he wanted to see what funding options were available to help expand his business, Prominent Realty Group, and two nonprofits he plans to launch. He said thought the resource fair came at a good time, considering the tight labor market and inflation nationwide.

“People are looking for side hustles and business opportunities to improve their quality of life,” Fuñe said. “Las Vegas is a good place to do it, I think anybody can. I’m bullish on it.”

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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