Grant geared to advance med-tech

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council partnered with the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation after receiving a grant to advance medical technology.

The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) a $750,000 grant to accelerate wearable and medical technology entrepreneurship in Greater Phoenix.

“We’re here to help entrepreneurs develop better products, faster,” Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, said in a press release. “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.”

In addition to partnering with Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI), GPEC also partnered with Arizona State University, the Partnership for Economic Innovation (PEI) and StartupAZ Foundation to conduct research and work toward achieving the goals of the grant.  
“A lot of what we’ll be doing in the initial couple of months of the grant is really trying to find those areas of synergy where we can help each other in our respective programs and then how we can because of that reach a wider audience that we can serve,” Tom Schumann, CEI executive director, said.

The Maricopa County Community College District’s CEI is a business incubator that works with bioscience and medical device companies that are in the concept stage with new product ideas.

Companies in the incubator program move into the CEI facility for about two to three years as they complete their product and business development and are ready to launch into sales.

“Our clients know their science, they know their technology very well. But, most of them are new to the world of business,” Schumann said. “So, what we do at the incubator is help wrap a business around the technologies that they’re bringing in the time that they’re with us.”

CEI will develop the Validation Lab through this new grant partnership. It will assist founders and entrepreneurs starting new businesses with early concept testing.

Schumann explained the Validation Lab will address two questions:

  • Is there a market for your product and will customers buy it?
  • Can you build a business model around this in a way that will make a return on investment and generate profit?

“It’s very important as early as possible to have the tools that you need to get into customer discovery, making sure that the problem you think you’re solving with your product or technology is actually one that a customer has,” Schumann said.

Sierra Ciaramella

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