According to the Kauffman Foundation, Northern Nevada has the number one highest startup density for a Metropolitan statistical area of its size. In support of northern Nevada startups, a new collaboration between the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Business, the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada and the Nevada Small Business Development Center will provide investors with the information needed to support faster investment decision-making and a smooth investment deal process.
The EPPICenter program will focus on Entrepreneur Packet Preparation for Investors (EPPI) with the goal of driving more investment deals for Nevada startups. In 2018, Northern Nevada startups received $26 million in investments; with the launch of the EPPICenter program, the aim is to increase that number in 2019. The EPPICenter will be managed by the Nevada SBDC, including professional staff and student support. The Nevada SBDC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and offers expertise in business structures and processes and a team experienced in evaluating business financial projections, business operations plans, marketing strategy, total addressable market analysis and more.
“This is a natural extension of the business consulting services we provide,” Sam Males, state director of the Nevada SBDC, said. “We are excited to evolve our work to support the EPPICenter program and the investment deals that are vital to continued economic growth in Northern Nevada. We look forward to deploying our seasoned professionals and our exceptional students in this new direction.”
The EPPICenter program will facilitate experts to conduct due diligence research on investor-ready start-ups, evaluating their business model, sales to-date, financial projections and other business details to allow investors to make an informed investment decision. Additionally, the team working as part of the EPPICenter will deliver a research packet to the investor(s), who will then make their investment decision. All research packets developed by the EPPICenter will be completed at no cost to the investor or the entrepreneur.
EDAWN will help support the program through a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant of $300,000 over three years that will drive startup ventures and investment in Northern Nevada. The grant supports EDAWN’s efforts to grow the Reno and Northern Nevada startup community through the creation of investment support mechanisms including an investor conference, a new seed fund and investment support programs like the EPPICenter.
“We are excited to work with the Nevada SBDC to provide a new way of supporting entrepreneurial development,” Mike Kazmierski, president & CEO of EDAWN, said. “As a region, we have many creative people with exciting ideas who are driving innovation in industries like healthcare and technology. The creation of the EPPICenter will allow us to help founders get the investment capital they need to grow and thrive here.”
The University’s College of Business will also support the program through student employment. Much of the work by the EPPICenter will be conducted by College of Business students at the undergraduate and graduate level. Having hands-on due diligence research experience is invaluable for any student with aspirations of entrepreneurship or investment.
“The EPPICenter program represents a unique opportunity for the College of Business to continue to engage with the local business community,” Greg Mosier, dean of the College of Business, said. “Supporting the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northern Nevada in this way will give our students valuable experience, as they are exposed to the startup investing process and the growing business community.”
All projects brought to the EPPICenter must come from an area investor who is considering an investment of at least $100,000. Entrepreneurs who are interested in pursuing investors and investment opportunities can contact the Nevada SBDC to receive counseling on how to become investor-ready and how to prepare for an investor’s due diligence research process.
“The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Northern Nevada, as evidenced by the growing number of startups and investors” Gene Wong, managing director of the Mountain West Tech Accelerator, LLC, said. “The creation of the EPPICenter program will work to bridge the gap between founders and investors, streamlining the investment decision-making process, ultimately creating more opportunities for success on all sides.”
The Nevada SBDC is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.