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29 February 2012

Virginia City/Yerington/Winnemucca/Carson City, NV – Russell Upton was an employee of Lyon County for six and one-half years before he found himself laid off due to budget cuts last summer. Upton, like many newly-unemployed, was uncertain of how to survive and how to cope. His wife would later tell the story how Upton had given up hope at a time in their lives when they should have been more settled.

Upton’s wife learned about the NxLeveL for Entrepreneurs course and was elated that it was coming to their small, rural town of Silver Springs. She registered her husband and Upton found himself in a class of 19 other folks from his community who wanted to learn more about growing an existing business, while others, like Upton, just wanted to know how the heck to start one of their own.

“The NxLeveL class taught me how to identify and evaluate my own talents that could maybe become a new business” said Upton. “I worked with security systems for the county and was pretty good at it.” Kathy Halbardier, Upton’s NxLeveL instructor, had been in business 20 years herself. “It didn’t matter what question or situation the class brought me” said Halbardier. “I pretty much had been through it all.” Halbardier was instrumental in helping Upton launch his business. “What we do in NxLeveL, after the initial feasibility is completed, is take a look at past employment, trainings, certifications and overall areas of interest. It was clear to me that Russell was ready to diversify his existing knowledge base of security systems.” Halbardier described the Silver Springs class as one of the most dynamic groups of people with which she’s had the pleasure of working. “We started, and ended, with 20 students. Do you realize what it means for 20 people to stick out anything for 13 weeks together, much less a business planning course?”

It was the dynamics of the entire course that allowed Upton to launch his business. “The people care for each other beyond words” said Halbardier. “As a group we all pitched our ideas and concepts weekly to each other. It was suggested that Russell combine a locksmith business with his security system idea. He now owns and operates Upton’s Locksmith & Security Systems serving all of Lyon County that includes Yerington, Silver Springs, Fernley and Dayton.

In a matter of 13 weeks, Upton obtained a business license, designed a logo and marketing materials, set up his legal structure and began to solicit business. He finished his business plan and launched his business. NxLeveL works for those truly committed to their business.

NxLeveL is a 13-week course on Entrepreneurship and is administered throughout the State by the Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC), a department within the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno. “NxLeveL is by far the greatest training program we offer” said Kathy Carrico, statewide training director and NxLeveL administrator for the NSBDC. “We’re in our 13th year and have seen more than 2,000 Nevadans take the course from about 25 locations. Our rural classes have always been funded, and we will continue to provide the best training possible to the business communities of people who want our help. In every job one lands, there’s always someone to train you. But when you own the business, who’s there to train you? That’s what NxLeveL’s all about, training the business owners!”

NxLeveL is priced at $700 per person; four rural Nevada classes are fully funded this spring which means that attendees pay only $95 for the 13-week course, and all books are included. Anyone with a minimum of 10 weeks attendance and a written business plan submitted to the instructor gets their $95 back. Many thanks go out to the Western Nevada Development District for funding the Winnemucca, Virginia City and Carson City classes. Many thanks also go out to the Governor’s Office on Economic Development for funding the Yerington class through a Community Development Block Grant. Please log onto www.nsbdc.org and click on the NxLeveL page for the 12 course topics list, instructor bios, weekly learning objectives, course syllabus and brochure. Cities, locations and dates follow for our upcoming 4 rural classes which all meet one evening per week from 5:45 – 8:45 pm. For further information or questions regarding the NxLeveL program throughout Nevada contact Kathy Carrico at 775/784/6879 or e-mail kcarrico@unr.edu.

Yerington – beginning March 12, ending June 11
Location: Lyon County Board of County Commissioners Chambers, 27 South Main Street
Winnemucca – beginning March 13, ending June 5
Location: Humboldt General Hospital, 118 E. Haskell Street, Sarah Winnemucca Hall, Room 124
Virginia City – beginning March 15, ending June 7
Location: Virginia City High School, The Training Room – 95 South R Street (use southeast parking area)
Carson City – beginning March 20, ending June 12
Location: Business Resource Innovation Center (BRIC) – 108 East Proctor Street

The Nevada Small Business Development Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.