Starting a business can be overwhelming. That’s where RebelForge comes in.
This initiative was created by the UNLV Office of Economic Development and the Nevada Small Business Development Center to provide UNLV students with the free help they need to grow their businesses – including confidential consulting, training, assessments, tools and more for those at all stages owning a business.
The team is equipped with experienced students and expert advisors who are eager to help. Haley Cabias, one of RebelForge’s advisory interns, is an upper-division business student and a veteran of the team. Here she explains how students can benefit from this program and how those interested can get started.
Is RebelForge available to all UNLV students?
RebelForge is available to all UNLV students. As long as you are a student at UNLV, graduate or undergraduate, then our resources will be available to you. However, when the student graduates, they will be transferred to the Small Business Development Center (a statewide initiative located at UNLV).
Why should a student use RebelForge?
Students should use RebelForge if they are aspiring/current entrepreneurs. RebelForge provides UNLV students with free and confidential consulting, resources and training to help them start, grow or manage their business. RebelForge is a program that encourages and supports students to achieve milestones in their business while accommodating students’ school schedules.
RebelForge fosters economic development by providing entrepreneurial resources and knowledge to current and prospective business owners at UNLV, as well as connecting off-campus resources such as BlackFire, OED and SBDC with UNLV students.
What does the process look like for a typical client?
We have a two-step application process: Current UNLV students will apply through our advising form on our website. This form is intended to verify that they are currently UNLV students. We will email them to fill out this application form so they can be recorded in our Neoserra system.
Once they’ve completed our two-step sign-up process, we can help them starting with their first meeting. RebelForge clients vary from person to person. Every small business is unique and may require different types of guidelines. We have students looking for a range of resources.
How has RebelForge helped you personally?
Although I had never been a client of RebelForge before becoming a consultant, my job provided me with a lot of knowledge about how to conduct myself in a professional environment. As a counseling intern, I learn something new every day I walk into the office and I love it!
I enjoy applying what I have learned in the classroom to the workplace. The collaboration among my colleagues and SBDC advisors allowed me to embrace my creativity. More importantly, using the resources I have as an advisor and providing guidance to students has been very rewarding. I have a newfound respect and admiration for future entrepreneurs/business owners, especially our student clients who work tirelessly every day to achieve their business goals.
Can you tell me about yourself and your qualifications and those of your principal trainee as a consultant?
We are both senior business students with experience in our areas of specialization. My lead intern, Kalina Tatareva, helps her dad run his small business, which has given her experience with business licensing and QuickBooks. In addition, she interned at a Big 4 public accounting firm and uses this experience to apply accounting concepts to the needs of small businesses.
In addition, my experience with social media in my sorority is useful for clients who need help with marketing or advertising. As a former community service chair and newsletter chair, and current director of community service for the Alpha Xi Delta Epsilon chapter, I have experience navigating social media platforms and filling leadership positions.
Most importantly, RebelForge advisors have access to SBDC resources, training and advisors with years of experience, so they can help with general business issues as well. Kalina applied the knowledge and expertise she gained as an intern at RebelForge to help her father’s business navigate Nevada’s regulatory environment and access resources.
What else does our community need to know about RebelForge?
RebelForge hosts free tours of the Blackfire Innovation Center (where the RebelForge office is for students) on the first Friday of every month.
You’ll be able to see a floor dedicated to showcasing new technologies, along with other initiatives organized by Blackfire, such as RebelForge, the UNLV Office of Economic Development, CoOperate, and the Makerspace Lab.
If you would like to schedule a private group tour at another time, such as for a class or a registered student organization, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate.