The Greater Phoenix Area is one of the largest and hottest hubs for entrepreneurship. To celebrate and further develop that, the PHX East Valley is hosting an Entrepreneur Week from February 18th to the 22nd, which features speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities for current and aspiring business leaders.
Arizona is extraordinarily entrepreneurial; the state is home to 396 thousand small businesses. Even more impressively, the East Valley (comprised of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Queen Creek, and Apache Junction) contains almost half of these small businesses with roughly 180 thousand small businesses.
Each city specializes in a different research area – Chandler is ground-zero for autonomous vehicles, Mesa is building a creative economy, and Tempe is uncovering medical and other scientific discoveries through Arizona State University’s Institute of Bio-design. East Valley Partnership CEO Denny Barney explains that although the cities differ in many ways, they are all connected, which makes the entrepreneurial ecosystem so vibrant.
“All these cities are super different, but they’re all intertwined,” Barney said. “The school districts overlap, everybody travels, the mayors and political leadership get along. And that, in its own way, is an entrepreneurial spirit that sets the tone in the East Valley.”
On Tuesday, the Mesa Arts Center hosted the first event of the week, Mesa’s Creative Economy and Start Up Society, which offered speeches and a discussion about the city’s innovation in connecting business with ingenuity. Wednesday’s event, the ASU Chandler Innovation Center, highlighted the re-launch of the makerspace, where young entrepreneurs can build and grow projects and ideas with peers. Today, Queen Creek hosted their very own entrepreneurship workshop.
Tomorrow, Friday, February 22nd, from 8AM to Noon, workspace MAC 6 will host “Tempe’s Business Success Combo: Great People + Great Culture,” which will focus on how the right culture can create successful companies. This will include a keynote speaker, a panel, and other workshops for upcoming and current self-starters.
Barney emphasizes the importance of the week for the next wave of entrepreneurs. “Ultimately, what they’re all trying to do is speak to students in a way that they will either start their own businesses or plug into current small businesses so that ecosystem can continue to grow,” he continues. “Every entrepreneur, whether they start small and go big or stay small, creates that ecosystem of jobs that hits every strata of the jobs market.”
Entrepreneurship drives Arizona’s economy. PHX East Valley Entrepreneur Week highlights Arizona’s entrepreneurial spirit and the innovations that are moving our state forward.