In the same way that companies like Nike, Apple and Facebook have created “mini-cities” for employees where chance encounters between innovators leads to new ideas and accelerates learning, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh wants to attract hundreds of entrepreneurs to downtown Las Vegas to help make it more “collisionable.”

Hsieh’s $350 million fund, “The Downtown Project,” is aimed at “transforming the decaying and blighted part of the old Vegas Strip” with $200 million earmarked for real estate, $50 million for small businesses, $50 million for education, and $50 million for tech startups, PandoDaily reports.

The Downtown Project’s goal is to create a “whole community of creative technologists, designers and entrepreneurs” by investing in 100 to 200 companies and helping provide a setting rivaling New York or San Francisco in which they can thrive.

If Las Vegas sounds like an unlikely magnet for tech startups, Quicken Loans founder and Chairman Dan Gilbert is leading similar efforts to revitalize Detroit, which include a startup zone around the old Madison Theatre dubbed “The M@dison Block.” Source:

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