Reno as a launching pad for entrepreneurs

My quest to reinvent myself in the post-newspaper world has taken a decidedly entrepreneurial turn.  Networking and continuing education open doors to opportunities that may blend my long history as a writer/reporter, editor and photographer — and bring in a decent amount of money!

Three elements play into this latest adventure.  Education from the non-profit ProNetjobs network has expanded my social media, personal branding and

Matt Westfield of Startup Growth Strategies teaches entrepreneur classes unlike any other organization around. Read about it at

leadership/adult training credentials (including a UNR certification).  Taking the Startup Growth Strategies 101 class opened doors to working with the Entrepreneur’s Assembly — an umbrella coalition of non-profits in Reno that help people start and grow a business.  I call the dozen or so members the “alphabet soup” group. It includes SCORE, NSBDC, NIREC, NMI, EDAWN, KNPB, UNR, SGS, etc — more than a dozen entities.

Working with Entrepreneurship Nevada (, I developed, designed and created a newsletter celebrating successes already here.

Not being with the Reno Gazette Journal any longer has opened doors with Northern Nevada Business Weekly and other publications.  I have fewer conflicts of interest and no longer worry about crossing that invisible barrier between reporter and subject.  I am free to network.

Meeting with the Carson Area Marketing and PR Network is opening other opportunities …

Through it all, I am meeting terrific, professional people who really have a stake in making good things happen — and they’re contributing their talents to building a brighter economic future for northern Nevada.

Last week UNR selected six student-led business teams to compete in the Sontag competition — and for  $50,000 in grant money to start a business. The prize is winner-take-all, funded by a UNR Alum.  More than 35 groups submitted plans for businesses that ranged from a “made in the USA” snowboard company to high-tech innovative ways to reuse tar.

I wrote a story for about a former corporate worker starting

Denise Bevard is turning her passion for quilting into a money-making business as Fiddlesticks & Humility after taking the Entrepreneur's class from and joining the Entrepreneur's Assembly (

a business as a quilting expert.  Denise Bevard will parley her hand-quilting expertise under the Fiddlesticks & Humility banner. Her mentors believe she’ll be self-supporting quite soon.

The point is that mentors WANT to help start businesses here … and many offer their advice for free … because their organizations are privately funded or operate under government auspices.

A staffing company owner today told me that his business is picking up — and that hiring temporary staff is a leading indicator of economic recovery …   all hopeful signs ….


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