Phoenix Startup Week is back

The largest entrepreneurial event in Arizona, Phoenix Startup Week (PHXSUW), is back.

The six-day event is focused on creating a diverse entrepreneurial hub in metro Phoenix by bringing “voices from all corners of the metro area together.”

In their first year organizing the event, co-leaders Mike Jones and Kate Rogers said their mission was to focus the vision of “empowered diversity.”  

“What we saw when we looked at the data of attendees, at who was speaking, we were like ‘this isn’t really as diverse as it could be or should be,’” Jones said. “It need[ed] to be reflective of the whole Valley from an entrepreneurial standpoint. So, that meant this year focusing on being more diverse and taking that word seriously and looking at what does that really mean.”  

PHXSUW connects and empowers Greater Phoenix area entrepreneurs to “#thrivetogether” by giving them the opportunities to participate in workshops, happy hours and mentoring opportunities.

With more than 50 workshop sessions focused on topics that currently dominate the business community, the event contains something for everyone no matter their point in the “entrepreneurial journey.”

“Part of what I think is so great about startup week is that there’s so much for different people at different points,” Jones said.

“It serves a lot of different purposes,” Rogers said. “If you just have an idea…you’ll learn from people who have actively done what you’re trying to do. If you have a business, it’s encouraging. It’s hard to be an entrepreneur, so, it’s good to be around people who understand you and are kind of in the same trenches as you.”

One of the parts Jones is most excited about is the mentorship program.

“It’s a great, great opportunity to get some really good one-on-one advice from someone who’s already been down the entrepreneurial road. I’ve talked to a lot of mentees from previous years and one of the big benefits of that is you can ask very specific questions, ones you may not be willing to ask in an open Q&A,” he said.  

According to Jones, “business is really based on relationships, it’s those relationships that you make,” which is why the event also has happy hours where attendees can network.

“I liken it to a college reunion where you can see [friends] year-over-year,” Rogers said. “You can watch people grow from an idea to a company to a sold venture. I think it’s also a representation of our ecosystem. It’s a week-long event that is representative of what’s going on in Phoenix.”

PHXSUW will also have keynote speakers spread across the six days including:

  • Heidi Jannenga, Co-Founder & President of WebPT;
  • Maria Fuentes, Director, Arizona Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family;
  • Brandon Clarke, Partner at CRADL and Co-founder, StartupAZ Foundation;
  • John Pierce, Partner at Player 2 Studios;
  • Hayley Ringle, Tech Reporter at Phoenix Business Journal;
  • Aly Saxe, CEO & Founder of Iris PR Software;
  • Greg Lim, COO & Co-founder of Persosa;
  • Jamie Reardon, Co-founder & CEO of Find Your Influence;
  • James Bates, Founder & CEO of AdviNOW Medical;
  • Johnny Hanna, CEO & Co-founder of Homie;
  • Francine Hardaway, Partner at Stealthmode Partners;
  • Robert Maynard, Founder of SurchX;
  • and Michelle Cirocco, Chief Responsibility Officer of Televerde.

“We try to keep it very local in terms of content and speakers,” Rogers said. “We don’t bring tons of people in from other places because the Phoenix area is its own animal. So, we could bring people in from Silicon Valley or New York and they could give a lecture on how to do something but that might not be true for us. So, you’re learning from people that have done it in our market.”

The event will take place from March 4 to 9 at the Mesa Arts Center Monday and Tuesday (1 E. Main St., Mesa, AZ 85201); the Skaled Sandbox Wednesday and Thursday (3816 N. 7th St. Phoenix, AZ 85014); and Park University Friday and Saturday (92 W. Vaughn Ave., Gilbert, AZ 85233).

“It’s like Christmas to me. It’s like my favorite week of the whole year, which is why I donate so much of my time to it. Everyone’s talking about March Madness, this is my thing. It lights me up in a special way,” Rogers said.

To buy tickets, click here.

Emily Richardson

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