The following is an interview with Justin McVay, Startup Advisor, from the UNLV Business STARTUP Center.
Tell us some background on the UNLV Business STARTUP Center. Who’s involved in the center?
The UNLV Business STARTUP Center was formed to meet the ever-growing needs of the on- and off-campus startup community. We wanted to provide a resource for guidance, advice, counsel and mentorship for founders or entrepreneurs developing their startup. We have experts in business formation, economic and business development, banking and capital formation, marketing and research, and other areas who mentor and assist new companies through these processes and more.
What kind of services can a startup company in and around Las Vegas get from the UNLV Business Startup Center?
We offer a wide variety of business-related services and can craft our individual services to best fit the need of the startup. From napkin to execution, we have available services to mentor a startup through business creation, strategic planning, marketing, building financial reports, or preparing for investor meetings. If we can’t help, we’ll find someone who can.
Is this only for UNLV students or can anyone use your services? What are the costs of your services?
We are a campus and community resource, so we cater to university students and faculty, as well as the greater Las Vegas Startup Community. Our resources are offered at absolutely no cost – we never charge a fee and we don’t ask for any equity or ownership rights with the startups we assist.
How is this different than the Small Business Center at UNLV?
The UNLV Business STARTUP Center is still part of the Nevada and nationwide group of Small Business Development Centers. However, our Center recently decided to refocus its efforts and resources toward the startup and entrepreneur community, positioning itself to assist high-growth startups, particularly in the tech and innovation-based space, who typically have the ability to scale quickly. We also have partnerships with other organizations in the area who can assist small businesses that may not fall within our scope, so services are still available no matter what your idea or business.
What can the Las Vegas Startup community do to help you in your mission?
We really are kind of a startup ourself, just getting our legs under us, bringing our team together and beginning to tell our story – the parallels of starting an organization like this are very similar to building a company. So that’s I think where the community can help, by spreading the word of what we’re doing and how we can assist entrepreneurs and startups. I know we can assist entrepreneurs on their road to success if we can get the word out that we are here to help. Tell your associates, friends and colleagues what we’re doing and I think that will certainly give us a great head start.
What’s your top advice for a startup entrepreneur?
Always be tenacious, but recognize when you may be a bit out of your lane and you need to ask for help. Raising your hand and requesting support does not mean you’re not great at what you do. However, the more you’re willing to get advice, mentorship or assistance in areas outside of your area of expertise only makes you a better founder or entrepreneur, and your startup will be the better for it.