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TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS Whether it’s a two-person start-up or a partnership with a corporation employing thousands of people in several states, UNLV puts its valuable resources to work for the business community. The university’s many centers and outreach programs help companies large and small analyze trends, create business plans, start up operations, and adapt to an evolving marketplace. BY DONNA MCALEER INSURING SUCCESS nsureMonkey? Think Expedia for health insurance. Co-founders Alex Rivlin and Kurt Jarcik came up with the concept for InsureMonkey in 2006 “to eliminate the mystery and confusion in getting quality, affordable health insurance.” But it took some time to formulate the business plan, build a complex technological infrastructure, test the site, and wait out the uncertainties of health care reform. InsureMonkey secured its first round of investors in October 2008, finally launched in 2009, and added a second investor group in April. To get through the process, they turned to Rivlin’s alma mater. “The Nevada Small Business Development Center (NSBDC) helped us establish a credible business plan and kept us going I down the right path,” says Rivlin, chief executive officer. “They helped us see the reality that there would be no bank financing right away, so we adapted our plans to the business environment.” The company, now operating in 43 states, developed its website to make it easy to compare pricing and plans. Service at InsureMonkey doesn’t stop at the sale. “We are your advocates, we will help you if there is a problem with your claim,” says Rivlin, who adds that the company name is designed to make people feel more at ease while shopping for a notoriously complicated product. SUNSHINE MOVERS Danny and Trish Ives had a dream to open their own home-based business. But start- ing a local moving company was more complicated than they first realized, especially during a recession. They knew their idea — a mover who paid extraordinary attention to detail — was solid and their work ethic strong, but they needed help maneuvering in the heavily regulated transportation industry. And that’s when the NSBDC moved in. “We would never have gotten all our licenses without the guidance of the NSBDC. It took more than a year,” says Danny Ives. It helped the couple complete business forecasts, checked their balance sheets, and guided them through the licensing bureaucracy. “The NSBDC has given us an opportunity to own and open our business. They were absolutely wonderful.” And, according to customer reviews on the Internet, so are Sunshine Movers. Fall 2010 | 17

UNLV Magazine - Fall 2010

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