Starting a business can be overwhelming. That’s where RebelForge steps in.
This initiative was created by the UNLV Office of Economic Development and the Nevada Small Business Development Center to provide UNLV students with free assistance needed to grow their businesses — including confidential advising, training, assessments, tools, and so much more for those in all stages of owning a business.
The team is staffed with experienced student and professional advisors who are eager to help. Haley Cabias, one of RebelForge’s advisory interns, is an upper-division business student and veteran of the team. Here she explains how students can benefit from this program and how those who are 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. Once a student graduates, however, they will be transferred to the Small Business Development Center (a statewide initiative housed at UNLV).
Why should a student use RebelForge?
Students should utilize RebelForge if they are aspiring/current entrepreneurs. RebelForge provides UNLV students with no-cost and confidential advising, resources, and training to help them in starting, growing, or managing their business. RebelForge is a program that encourages and supports students to achieve milestones within their business while accommodating to students' school schedules.
RebelForge fosters economic development by providing entrepreneurial resources and knowledge to current and future business owners at UNLV, as well as connecting off-campus resources like BlackFire, OED, and SBDC to UNLV students.
What does the process look like for a typical client?
We have a two-step signup process: Current UNLV students will sign up through our request advising form on our website. This form is intended to confirm they are a current UNLV student. We will send them an email to have them complete this sign-up form so they can be recorded in our system Neoserra.
After they have completed our two-step sign-up process, then we can assist them starting with the initial meeting. RebelForge clients vary from person to person. Every small business is unique and may be seeking different types of guidance. We have students who are searching for a range of resources.
How has RebelForge helped you personally?
Although I was never a RebelForge client before becoming an advisor, my job has provided me with tons of knowledge on how to conduct myself in a professional setting. As an advisory intern, I am learning something new every day that I step into the office and I love it!
I enjoy applying what I have learned in the classroom to the workplace. Collaboration amongst my colleagues and SBDC advisors has allowed me to embrace my creativity. More importantly, using the resources I have as an advisor and offering guidance to students has been very rewarding. I have a newfound respect and appreciation for aspiring entrepreneurs/business owners, especially our student clients who are working tirelessly every day to achieve their business goals.
Can you tell me about you and your lead intern's credentials and qualifications as advisors?
We are both upper-division business students with experience in our areas of specialization. My lead intern, Kalina Tatareva, helps her dad run his small business, which gave her experience with business licensing and QuickBooks. Additionally, she interned at a Big 4 public accounting company and uses this experience to apply accounting concepts to small business needs.
Additionally, my experience with social media in my sorority is useful for clients who need help with marketing or advertising. As former community service chair and newsletter chair, and current community service director in the Alpha Xi Delta Epsilon chapter I have experience navigating social media platforms and fulfilling leadership positions.
Most importantly, RebelForge advisors have access to SBDC resources, training, and advisors with years of experience, so they can assist with general business issues as well. Kalina has applied the knowledge and expertise that she has gained as a RebelForge intern to help her dad's business more easily navigate Nevada's regulatory environment and access resources.
What else should our community know about RebelForge?
RebelForge hosts free tours of the Blackfire innovation center (where RebelForge offices for students every first Friday of the month.
You will be able to see a floor dedicated to showcasing new technologies, along with other initiatives housed by Blackfire, such RebelForge, the UNLV Office of Economic Development, CoOperate (a co-working space), and a Makerspace Lab.
If you would like to schedule a private group tour at a different time, such as for a class or a Registered Student Organization, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate.