What is an Innovation Zone?


Innovation Zones (IZ) are a unique way to help diversify Nevada’s economy. Recently proposed legislation could help build the economy of the future right here in our State, building a place where technology and talent from around the world comes to create, collaborate and innovate.

An Innovation Zone is a self-governing community, organized much like a traditional city or county, but wholly focused on the development of innovative and advanced technologies. It would be governed by an independent board separate from any companies or groups operating in the Innovation Zone. The State of Nevada would establish a process to create these Innovation Zones with strict requirements from the applicant.

Some of these strict requirements would include:

  • Immediate investment of $250 million in land and infrastructure in the proposed Innovation Zone
  • Commitment to invest at least $1 billion over 10 years to develop a “Smart City” within the zone
  • Specific qualifications and expertise in the development of innovative technology
  • Special tax or fee revenue for the state based on new technology developed in the Innovation Zone

All different types of technology could be developed in an Innovation Zone. Blockchain, IoT, artificial intelligence, biometrics and autonomous tech applications could all be created and integrated into the Innovation Zone.

Using economic impact studies of the proposed Blockchains Innovation Zone project in northern Nevada, the short- and long-term impact to our State could be significant.

Economic Impact Study

Opportunity and Innovation in Nevada: An Economic Impact Study conducted by Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis on the economic impact of the potential of the Blockchains Innovation Zone.

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Bill Draft Authorizing the Creation of Innovation Zones

Below you can click to download the most recent unofficial bill draft outlining the proposed legislation for the creation of Innovation Zones in Nevada.

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Summary of Bill Draft

Below you can click to download the summary of the unofficial bill draft authorizing the creation of Innovation Zones in Nevada.

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FAQs


Check back frequently as the FAQ’s will be continually updated.

  • An Innovation Zone (IZ) is a unique, new concept for a community, created to develop and advance innovative technology by integrating into every aspect of the Zone.
  • Nevada Innovation Zones will build on proven concepts from other states and countries and bring the latest thinking to make our State a worldwide magnet for innovative technology development.
  • Nevada Innovation Zones will have to meet strong standards to be allowed. Applicants need to have a track record of experience in advanced technology, own a large parcel of undeveloped property, and agree to invest $250 million as a start. They will also have to commit to investing a further billion dollars over 10 years and be subject to a tax on technology developed there.
  • Technology often moves faster than state laws can keep up. Innovation Zones are an effort by the State of Nevada to match regulation with the fast pace needed for innovation, while setting strict standards and charting a clear path forward.
  • Unlike our traditional towns and counties, an Innovation Zone is designed specifically as an incubator or technology development. The structure of an Innovation Zone will help support its goal of innovation and economic development without burdening local communities.
  • A similar example is the development of Disney World in Florida. A traditional town or city lacked both the expertise and the resources to properly support a unique undertaking of that size and complexity. The Reedy Creek Improvement District was formed with much of the same authority and duties that local government usually has, but without the burden on local communities.
  • The goal of this type innovation is to create jobs, draw investment and create opportunity. Two big benefits will come in the early stages – construction jobs to build the Zone’s infrastructure and revenue to local vendors and businesses from that activity. Later on, the businesses and operations located in the Smart City will attract permanent, high-paying jobs to the area.
  • The host county will also receive additional revenue to provide needed services to the IZ until its fully developed, services that will be paid for by the Zone.
  • Based on economic development studies so far, developing an Innovation Zone could employ 124,000 people in a multitude of different jobs.
  • $7 billion in salaries would be generated from jobs created tied to the Innovation Zone.
  • Overall, the total potential impact of the Innovation Zone could be more than $16 billion.
  • Innovation Zones are designed to be developed at no risk to the State or taxpayers. All costs involved are paid for by the applicant and a clear path of needed infrastructure and development is set by law.
  • Nevada needs to attract a new, diverse set of businesses and innovators to grow and expand our economy.
  • Through Innovation Zones, we can create the ideal setting for developing new technologies and draw talent and resources from around the world. This will make Nevada the center of emerging new technologies and the businesses that use them, and make sure that the benefits stay here within our community.
  • Expanding our state’s economic base beyond reliance on gaming and tourism revenue is a priority for Nevada.
  • Using Innovation Zones, we have a unique opportunity to attract a potential multibillion-dollar economic impact to Nevada, at little to no risk to the State, local communities or taxpayers.
  • The Smart City inside the Innovation Zone works much like your local government. An independent, three-person board initially appointed by the governor helps keep the Zone focused on its core mission and, over time, as the IZ grows, it takes responsibility for more and more local services.
  • Building an Innovation Zone will take time, but the legislation lays out a clear path toward sustainability with timelines and requirements in the law.
  • Construction and initial investment can begin right after approval, and benefits to the state and our community will begin to accrue right away in terms of jobs, revenue and taxes.
  • Any qualified group who can meet the standards in this new legislation can apply to form an Innovation Zone. The qualifications are strict to protect the State, local communities and taxpayers from risk.
  • No – an Innovation Zone is NOT run by any one company. It is governed by an independent board focused on the core mission of developing the IZ as a home for numerous businesses and entities engaged in technology development.
  • The Innovation Zone will comprise numerous companies and organizations from around the world.

No. The Innovation Zone would not impact the flow of money from Nevada’s C-Tax to other local governments. The IZ will only receive the amount it paid in C-Tax the prior fiscal year. Sections 29 and 35 lay out how this will work.

One of the strict requirements for the approval of an Innovation Zone proposal would be the applicant’s ability to secure access to all public utilities and natural resources needed for the development of the Zone. Section 11 of the draft bill details all similar requirements.

No. There are no abatements or tax credits for the applicant to create an Innovation Zone or for businesses within an Innovation Zone. All infrastructure and development is funded 100% by private resources.

Yes. Companies in an Innovation Zone will pay the same taxes at the same rate or higher than other businesses. Additionally, there is a requirement that a special fee or tax be placed on the innovative technology that is the focus of the Innovation Zone.

NO, an Innovation Zone will be comprised of a wide range of businesses and organizations doing business in the IZ. Not all of these will be affiliated with the developer, for IZs are NOT created for the exclusive purpose of any one company or group, but as an incubator for a broad range of innovation.

Reedy Creek Case Study: Merging Public and Private Governance


How Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District “Re-Imagined” the Traditional Division of Local Regulatory Powers

https://ir.law.fsu.edu/lr/vol36/iss2/2/

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Latest News


Toyota just started building a 175-acre smart city at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. Photos offer a glimpse of what the 'Woven City' will look like.

February 24th, 2021

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You Are Now Entering…The Innovation Zone!

February 21st, 2021

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Nevada’s Sales Pitch to Silicon Valley: You Can Create Your Own Government Here

February 16th, 2021

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Innovation Zones promoted by Sisolak would create semi-autonomous county at behest of Blockchains, Inc.

February 3rd, 2021

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Bill would allow tech companies to create local governments

February 3rd, 2021

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Legislative Update/Calendar of Committee Hearings


To follow the latest on Nevada’s 81st legislative session you can access the following tools:

LEGISLATIVE COMMITEE HEARINGSYOUTUBE CHANNEL

This website is dedicated to providing the facts regarding the Nevada Innovation Zone proposed legislation. Please check back frequently for additional information.