Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas

The Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas is also home to several major companies – especially gambling-based ones.

Las Vegas, NV, known as the Entertainment Capital of the World, is the state’s most-populous city as well as the 26th-biggest in the nation. This desert city is also home to several major companies – especially gambling-based ones.

That said, the city also has an emerging startup culture: in 2017, it was named on a Crowdspring list of the 10 best cities in the United States for startups and entrepreneurs; the next year, WalletHub ranked it 65th on its list of the best large cities to start a business. Las Vegas also appeared on two other 2018 WalletHub rankings: 84th on the list of best metro areas for STEM professionals and 81st on the site’s list of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs. Finally, the metropolitan area ranked fifth in the country in the Kauffman Foundation’s 2017 measurement of startup activity.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Las Vegas’ entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Hosting meetings every few months, the Las Vegas Business Networking group is open to all professionals looking to network and make business connections.

This Business Network is a group that hosts casual events to help its members network and make connections.

The large group of area business owners and entrepreneurs meet regularly to connect with one another.

A relatively young group, Las Vegas Startups and Small Business group has a large member base that meets to network on a regular basis.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Held annually by the Consumer Technology Association, CES is a conference celebrating consumer technologies and those who create them.

Clark County hosts an annual expo to help support and recognize to area small businesses, especially those that completed the Clark County Small Business Opportunity Program.

Techstars holds Startup Weekend events on an annual basis, with Startup Week apparently coming soon.

Home to a number of events and hosts annual conferences that travel around the nation; the VegasTech events page keeps track of all the major technology events taking place.


Startup Competitions:

The Money20/20 Hackathon is an annual coding competition, with $100,000 available in cash prizes.

Organized by UNLV, the Southern Nevada Business Plan Competition is open to entrepreneurs throughout Clark, Nye, and Lincoln counties.


Co-working Spaces:

Bloom is a co-working space designed to be an open, welcoming and supportive environment for women.

Designed specifically for entrepreneurs and small business owners, The Coop offers a variety of membership plans as well as 24/7 access to members.

With locations in downtown as well as Henderson, Co-Operate is a co-working space that specifically serves small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Rob Roy’s Innevation Center is a 65,000 square foot facility with office, co-working and event space that provides a number of resources to support the Nevada innovation economy.

Work in Progress is a flexible co-working space that offers month-to-month membership plans for both shared and private spaces.


Maker spaces:

The Clark County Library has a small technology center for teenagers that includes 3D printing, circuiting equipment and other digital creation technology.

Originally located in Las Vegas but now just down the road in Henderson, SYN Shop has a wide variety of tools and equipment available to members.

Construction at UNLV’s Lied Library to add a makerspace, among other spaces, is scheduled to take place throughout the Fall 2018 semester.



In addition to providing co-working opportunities, Incubator Space partners with other groups to provide incubation services to its members.

Hosted at Luna Community College, the Small Business Development Center runs a number of programs to support small business growth in the area.

With locations in Reno and Las Vegas, StartUpNV is a business incubator that works with startups from across the entire state of Nevada.



AFWERX, a program of the Air Force, works with technology entrepreneurs to solve problems through their 2-to-3-month technology accelerator program.

UNLV is home to one hub of the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program, which works with 15-25 projects led by entrepreneurs associated with the university per year.

In addition to other programs, UNLV runs an accelerator program to support nonprofit companies and help them grow.



The College of Southern Nevada offers an associate’s degree and certificate program in business management to help students become potential small business owners.

Down the road in Henderson, Nevada State College offers a minor and several classes focusing on entrepreneurship and small business ownership.

Through the Troesh Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, UNLV organizes a number of resources for entrepreneurial students, including both a major and minor.


Angel Groups/VCs:

Overseen by the Nevada Governor’s Office, Battle Born Venture invests in early-stage Nevada-based companies across a variety of sectors.

The Rebel Venture fund is a venture firm run by UNLV that aims to invest primarily in companies located in Southern Nevada, regardless of stage.

Redhills Ventures is a Las Vegas-based private family investment firm that invests in a wide array of companies in different industries.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

The Business Press, an affiliate of the Las Vegas Review-Journal that focuses on business news, offers a newsletter.

Nevada Business Magazine’s monthly newsletter contains both information about the magazine and upcoming events as well as content from the magazine.

The Las Vegas Sun’s business-focused section, Vegas Inc., offers a newsletter specifically covering area business news.

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Las Vegas not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Washington, D.C.,  Portland, OR, Phoenix, AZ

Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.