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Report notes rise in business startups in Las Vegas

When it comes to the number of people starting new businesses each month, Las Vegas topped at least 35 other metro areas in 2015.

An analysis of startup activity across 40 metro areas and all 50 states released Thursday by the Kauffman Foundation found Las Vegas trailed only Austin, Texas, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Startup activity in Las Vegas jumped from 72.7 percent in 2014 to 77.4 percent in 2015, the foundation reported.

A 5 point percentage point jump in startup activity is noteworthy, but not surprising, said Janet Runge, associate director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“As we’ve come through the economic downturn there’s a whole lot of activity going on, certainly with (autonomous car manufacturer) Faraday Future and (human transport system) Hyperloop, and everything that’s happening with drones,” Runge said.

The economy has bounced back to a point where people can now afford to try new ventures, she said.

“Out of every 100 new entrepreneurs (in Las Vegas), 77 of them are starting new businesses primarily driven by opportunity versus necessity,” said Arnobio Morelix, senior research analyst at the Kauffman Foundation. Startup activity levels among 25 smallest states by population, 2016 Kauffman Index (Gabriel Utasi/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

“Vegas also experienced an increase in startup density,” Morelix said. “That has gone up from 116 startups for every thousand new businesses, to 120.8 startups for every thousand businesses.”

Runge attributes that jump to support for entrepreneurs at the state and community levels.

“We have a lot of community support for entrepreneurship,” she said. “Even if that’s not financial support, we do have entrepreneurship programs that reach out to college students, that reach out to the community. So we’ve got education involved, we’ve got the critical awareness.”

Austin led the nation in startup activity in 2015, with 600 new entrepreneurs for every 100,000 adults in a given month. Las Vegas was fifth with 380 entrepreneurs for every 100,000 adults in a given month.

Among the 25 smallest states by population, Nevada ranks second to Montana in terms of startup activity levels. Overall, Montana has 500 new entrepreneurs for every 100,000 adults in a given month, while Nevada overall mirrors Las Vegas’ 380 entrepreneurs for every 100,000 adults in a given month.

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

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