Monday, March 11, 2013 | 11:24 a.m.
520 Fremont St. , Las Vegas
A Reno public relations firm is adding an office in the Emergency Arts building on Fremont Street, aiming its focus on the growing tech startup business environment in Las Vegas.
Leah Scherschel, account executive at The Abbi Agency, said the firm had been looking at San Francisco to open a satellite office. Instead, the company chose Las Vegas because of the improved business climate downtown, especially with tech startups spurred by the upcoming move of Zappos into the old City Hall on Stewart Avenue.
“When Vegas came on the radar, we knew it’s where we are supposed to be,” Scherschel said. “It fits with our goal of helping Nevada.”
The Abbi Agency also handled public relations for Project Vesto, a $100,000 business contest promoted by the state. With money provided by private investors and venture capitalists, Project Vesto is offering the money to one entrepreneur who comes up with the best plan for a new business.
Winners are required to become “Nevada-based entities and hold a state business license.” The competition was open to all startups with less than $1 million in revenue and less than $100,000 in external equity investment.
Scherschel said the contest drew 232 entries by the Dec. 31 deadline. Finalists will be announced at 5 p.m. Thursday; aspiring entrepreneurs made their pitches to a panel of judges in February.
After the announcement, people will be able to vote online for their preferred business model. A winner will be announced, contest rules say, this spring. About 50 percent of the prize money will be awarded upfront, with the remaining money awarded after the business achieves certain milestones.
Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.