Arizona’s Ambitious Startup Scene

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It’s never been a better time for Arizona-based startups.

In just the past few years, the Phoenix Metro area has seen a positive shift in the local community’s support for technology startups and entrepreneurs reconnecting with each other. One big driver has been a notable increase in the number of incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces available to help startups. Organizations such as AZTechBeat, Deskhub, CEI & Co+Hoots are creating a solid foundation and conduit for Arizona’s startup ecosystem to thrive.

Strong Innovation Centers

The major universities and local community colleges are focusing on development in the city centers and are contributing to the re-urbanization of Phoenix, Tempe & Scottsdale.   This has helped entrepreneurs reconnect in what has historically been a scattered community. ASU has long been a driver of innovation locally and has encouraged entrepreneurship through programs such as their Startup accelerator, Furnace tech transfer program, SkySong and the Startup School curricula.   UA and NAU have also created strong technology centers and programs to foster innovation and economic growth. Technical degree programs at the local universities continue to attract a young and diverse crowd of innovative and ambitious students.

Economy & Talent Pool

Arizona’s local economy has several major companies that have grown the local engineering talent pool and spans industries such as Aerospace, Semiconductors, Solar, Software, and Medical. Additionally, Tempe & Scottsdale have seen an influx of smaller technology companies moving to the area which further contributes to the excitement around Arizona’s technology-centered future. Community business and political leaders have become strong supporters of the local entrepreneur scene and Arizona is now host to startup events and competitions.

Cost of living, local wages, the tax burden and ease of starting a business have long been favorable in Arizona.

Wealth & Financial Backing

Aside from a strong talent pool and favorable economic conditions, Arizona has a strong investor base with access to capital and wealth.   While Arizona investors have traditionally been known for focusing on real estate, recent trends point to a healthy appetite for investments in tech and medical startups. While the area doesn’t boast an established financial or venture capital sector like those in San Francisco or Boston, there is plenty of interest and capital available for startups to connect with angel investors and raise seed capital. Groups such as Desert Angels and Wasabi Ventures have recognized the potential in Arizona startup investments and play a key role in the ecosystem with their financial backing and connections to other regions.

 

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While the local startup ecosystem is still relatively young, the momentum and recent success stories all point to the fact that entrepreneurship is alive and well in Arizona and should encourage both startups and investors alike. Aspiring entrepreneurs would be wise to connect with this community and join forces with their fellow change makers.

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