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Las Vegas among US leaders for business startup activity

Las Vegas’ startup scene is making gains.

An analysis of startup activity across 39 metro areas and all 50 states being released Thursday by the Kauffman Foundation found Las Vegas trailed only Miami, Florida; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles and San Diego.

While Las Vegas’s fifth-place national ranking stayed the same since last year, Nevada got a boost in rankings for the 25-smallest states by population. It now leads the pack.

Nevada has 108.4 startups per 1,000 employer businesses. Oklahoma, the runner-up, has 72.9 startups per 1,000 employer businesses.

changes in composition (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Out of every 100 new entrepreneurs, about 92 of them are starting businesses primarily driven by opportunity as opposed to necessity.

Arnobio Morelix, senior research analyst at the Kauffman Foundation, said the report’s findings are “overall pretty good news” for Las Vegas and for Nevada as a whole, but the community can further improve by making sure startups grow by strengthening:

— The amount of resources available for entrepreneurs.

— The kind of financing available.

— Mentorship opportunities.

Last year, Las Vegas was ranked as the fifth highest startup city across 39 metro areas right behind San Francisco. This year, San Francisco lost its place in the top five — and top ten. The Kauffman Foundation index placed the city in spot no. 14.

Morelix said a contributing factor to San Francisco’s fall was the startup community’s reliance on venture capital.

“The Bay Area more broadly still dominates venture-backed activity, and there’s no doubt that they’re still the leading region for venture-backed companies in the whole United States,” Morelix said. “But venture-backed companies is one important but somewhat of a small slice of the entire entrepreneurship phenomenon.”

Nationally, most startups get their funding from angel investors, traditional bank loans and from the founders’ personal savings account.

The Kauffman Foundation report also found that immigrant entrepreneurship is at a two-decade high in the United States.

“About 30 percent of all new entrepreneurs are immigrants,” Morelix said. “There is only one year that it’s been this high before and that is 2010.”

However, when it comes to breaking down entrepreneurs by race, African-American entrepreneurs have made only slight progress in the past 20 years. Black entrepreneurs made up 8.4 percent of all entrepreneurs in 1996, compared with 9.2 as of last year.

Women are also underrepresented, accounting for 39.4 percent of entrepreneurs as of last year, a decline from 43.7 percent in 1996.

Contact Nicole Raz at nraz@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @JournalistNikki on Twitter.

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