Leading the entrepreneurial lifestyle can be one of the most difficult, but also the most rewarding career paths to follow. Reno, Nevada is not the largest market in the country, but there is an incredible entrepreneurial culture within the city. In looking for some statistics on the subject, I ran across a blog listing several resources to assist area businesses and most are specifically focused on entrepreneurs. This shows Reno’s high level of commitment towards those efforts.
Working at the Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC), I see this culture every day. Not listed in the blog is a new resource, just down the hall from the NSBDC, the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship. The Center was established in the fall of 2014 through a generous gift by Eren and Fatih Ozmen; Nevada alumni and president and CEO, respectively, of Sierra Nevada Corporation. Sitting down with the Center’s Assistant Director and fellow MBA student, Kylie Rowe, I was able to get a detailed understanding of how the Ozmen Center stands out and has established itself as an excellent resource for the community.
The Ozmen Center is not meant to recreate anything that already exists in Reno as a competing endeavor, but focuses on promoting the entrepreneurial spirit on the University of Nevada campus. There are several ways the Center has already become a hub for activity and collaboration. It is where student entrepreneurs come to find resources and be directed to the best places to take their ideas, as well as hosting entrepreneurship club meetings and the livecast of Reno’s 1 Million Cups (something I try to take advantage of each week). These are just a few ways the Center is fostering the entrepreneurial community on campus.
In addition to helping students by providing space, direction and resources, Kylie and the Center have worked to expand the academic entrepreneurship courses offered. The entrepreneurship program, which includes a minor for undergraduates and an emphasis option within the MBA program, has been expanded to include additional course offerings, such as entrepreneurial sales, and have been extremely popular. A certificate program in entrepreneurship is currently under development. While this may be seen by some as small additions, I believe the opportunity to understand entrepreneurship and foster the ideals behind it while still in school provides a tremendous advantage to those who will be the business leaders of tomorrow.
Working with entrepreneurs in my office, I see the benefits the Ozmen Center can have on the University community, as well as the Reno community. With a premier location and excellent team, the Center is in a fantastic position to help make a huge impact on the ability for young entrepreneurs to find success in their future efforts beyond the walls of the classroom at the University.
Click over to the Ozmen Center’s 2014 Annual Report to learn more about what they have accomplished and what they have in store for the future.