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Maricopa Community Colleges pioneer innovative strategies in bioscience


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  • Colleen Schwab/ Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Students At Maricopa Community Colleges During A Chemistry Lab. Photo Courtesy Of Maricopa Community Colleges

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) was awarded a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce under the Economic Development Administration’s 2018 Regional Innovation Strategies program competition to accelerate wearable and medical technology entrepreneurship in Greater Phoenix.

The grant is expected to help 45 ventures and create more than 220 jobs throughout the three-year program.

The grant deliverables will be led by GPEC, the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI) at Maricopa County Community College District, Arizona State University (ASU), the Partnership for Economic Innovation (PEI) and StartupAZ Foundation. The partners will promote and assist the translation of research for commercial applications, formation of new ventures and acceleration of startup growth by providing market validation services and mentor networks in the wearable and medical technology cluster.

“We’re here to help entrepreneurs develop better products, faster,” says Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “We have an emerging technology ecosystem here that is increasingly recognized for introducing exciting new solutions to the market and this funding will allow us to better leverage our regional assets to help companies validate their products and position our region as a center of innovation excellence.”

The healthcare sector is intricate and complex to navigate as a startup company. By achieving the project goals, the region will establish a strong network within the innovation ecosystem, increase access to resources for entrepreneurs, healthcare firms and research organizations. Each partner organization involved in the proposal will have a strategic role to play in the success of the program.

“This new federal award provides a great opportunity to strategically expand the scope, scale and reach of our MedTech Ventures Program launched this year with regional Maricopa County IDA funding,” says Gregory Raupp, foundation professor, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Arizona State University. “I have no doubt we will not only realize tremendous synergy with WearTech, but also strengthen and grow our working partnership with GPEC, CEI and PEI.”

“Since opening the facility’s doors in 2012, the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation has spurred economic growth in Greater Phoenix by playing a significant role in helping startups build sustainable bioscience businesses in Arizona. In just five years, CEI’s clients have created 415 jobs, generated $112 million in sales revenue and raised over $48 million in private equity capital, grant funding, and awards,” said Tom Schumann, executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation.  

“The technology ecosystem in Greater Phoenix is robust,” says John Graham, board chairman of the Partnership for Economic Innovation. “With this funding, the WearTech Research and Technology Center will expand operations quickly and we are proud of the partnership forged through this effort.”

“We are excited to see the region be recognized nationally,” said Brandon Clarke, co-founder and director of StartupAZ Foundation. “StartupAZ will work with project partners to increase the performance of the region’s highest potential startup companies, helping them grow and give back.” 

The project programming will be anchored around the 30-acre Phoenix Biomedical Campus and the surrounding downtown and midtown Phoenix growing concentration for major healthcare providers, educational institutions, research organizations and technology companies.

For more information, please contact Colleen Schwab with The Greater Phoenix Economic Council at cschwab@gpec.org or 602-359-1176.

About The Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Established in 1989, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) actively works to attract and grow quality businesses and advocate for the competitiveness of Greater Phoenix. As the regional economic development organization, GPEC works with 22-member communities, Maricopa County and more than 150 private investors to accomplish its mission, and serve as a strategic partner to companies across the world as they expand or relocate. Consistently ranked as a top national economic development organization, GPEC’s approach to connectivity extends beyond the fabric of the community. Known as The Connected Place, Greater Phoenix is in a relentless pursuit of innovative and entrepreneurial technology-focused companies that are committed to changing the game. As a result, GPEC has fueled the regional economy by bringing more than 740 locates, by creating more than 130,000 jobs and has contributed a capital investment of $14.8 billion over the past 29 years. For more information about GPEC, visit www.gpec.org or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

About the Maricopa Community Colleges

The Maricopa County Community College District includes 10 regionally-accredited colleges – Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale, and South Mountain – and the Maricopa Corporate College, serving more than 200,000 students with two-year degrees, certificates, and university transfer programs.