Known as a gambling and entertainment hotspot, Las Vegas is attempting to entice tech executives and entrepreneurs to turn the city into the next hub of technology.
- At a summit in Vegas suburb Summerlin, Las Vegas officials pitched to CEOs, entrepreneurs, and tech executives an idea—Vegas is the new tech hot spot.
- Summit host and entrepreneur Teddy Liaw shared with participants his own journey to moving out of California, driven away by crime and high taxes.
- The summit was held away from the Vegas strip, showing executives a different side of the city, a side where they could build businesses.
Why it’s news
Liaw’s personal story at the summit reflects the stories of nearly 128,000 households that left the Bay Area of California last year. As more Californians leave the state, neighboring states are looking for opportunities.
Las Vegas has struggled to recover after the last economic downturn in 2008, and the pandemic cutting off needed tourist flow was another blow to Sin City. As tourists refill the casinos and gambling revenue marks a comeback, Vegas has an opportunity for growth.
Clark county director of community and economic development Shani Coleman expressed the need for the city to diversify its income sources.
“We’re not trying to be Silicon Valley, but we are trying to create an environment where people have the opportunity to be successful in innovation and technology,” she says. “We had this conversation during the recession, and then the casinos got hot again, and everything was going good, and people weren’t as focused on diversifying. This time, people are like—‘No, we have the tools, we have the infrastructure in place to really make this happen.’”
Las Vegas has stiff competition with established tech hubs in places like San Francisco and Silicon Valley. But Coleman thinks that the city’s relatively few regulations could be a draw for companies seeking to escape constricting red tape in other locations.
“We’ve always known that California, just because of their regulatory climate, has been ripe for the picking,” Coleman says.
As Californian cities continue to lose residents, southern Nevada is gaining more. Between July 2020 and 2021, 19,000 people moved to Las Vegas.
Officials in Vegas are trying to take advantage of the new life pouring into the city and create the next tech hub in the West.