Somer Hollingsworth is heading to Boston this week, but the Nevada Development Authority chief isn’t salivating over the city’s famed seafood or baked beans.
Rather, Hollingsworth, president and chief executive officer of the authority, is hungry to find technology companies and life-sciences businesses willing to consider leaving the tax-heavy confines of the Bay State for Southern Nevada.
“When you look at (Massachusetts’) corporate income tax, or when you look at its unemployment insurance costs, your mouth waters,” Hollings- worth said.
Recruiters from the Nevada Development Authority, a private Las Vegas nonprofit that attracts businesses to the Silver State, are in Boston through Wednesday at the BIO International Convention. BIO is the nation’s largest biotechnology-focused trade show; 1,800 companies have exhibition booths, and 19,000 industry members are attending.
The authority has a booth, too, and Hollingsworth will stalk the floor for relocation prospects. A law firm specializing in patents and copyrights has invited the authority’s representatives to a cocktail party, where they’ll rub elbows with potential recruiting targets and remind firm partners that nascent technology companies would benefit fiscally from Nevada’s lower taxes.
To complement its efforts, the authority has bought space on four billboards around Boston urging companies to “move your DNA to Las Vegas.” The nonprofit also made a three-day, half-page advertising buy in a regional edition of USA Today. The cost of the Boston initiative: less than $50,000.
“There are a lot of problems in Boston right now (with taxes), but it has such a great nucleus of companies,” Hollingsworth said. “It’s a haven for these businesses. If we can pull a couple of companies out of there, we can start building on that.”
The Boston campaign is also using the notion of leveraged media — deploying eye-catching ads to draw reporters’ attention — that has landed the authority millions of dollars in national news coverage for efforts in California and New Jersey. The Boston Globe, a daily newspaper, interviewed Hollingsworth about the authority’s new campaign last week.
Hollingsworth said he expects 100 to 150 leads from the Boston trip, perhaps a dozen of which will turn into serious inquiries in the next year. If the Beantown welcome is warm, authority officials will follow up in the next few months with small dinners in Boston for companies interested in moving west. Hollingsworth said he’ll bring Nevada dignitaries on the dinner trips to help the authority make its case. Also pending is a research paper that would analyze the biotech possibilities in Southern Nevada.
The Boston ads are a little more serious in tone than their New Jersey and California counterparts, which feature images such as Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman flashing the peace sign and tales of popular state icons decamping for more business-friendly environs.
But the cheekier incarnation of the Nevada Development Authority is scheduled to return later this year, when the group launches yet another salvo in its battle for California businesses.
The authority is also continuing its New Jersey campaign, Hollingsworth said.