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Activities of the MAG Economic Development Committee, January 10, 2017 Meeting

Message from the Chair
Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane

As this New Year begins, I look forward to discussing informative issues and advancing efforts through the EDC that help build a stronger regional economy.  At January’s meeting, we learned about the resurgence of the film industry and what makes Arizona a competitive market for production. With 55 percent of production work leaving Arizona, Sneaky Big Studios presents a phenomenal opportunity. We can bring production jobs and related industries back. We also can leverage our competitive edge as a business-friendly state to attract additional production work from other markets. The City of Scottsdale is proud to be home to this unbelievable facility, made possible due to the generosity and investment of businessman and local philanthropist, Bob Parsons. As one of the largest, most technologically advanced, full-service production studios in the country, the studio's presence is not only a positive for Scottsdale, but for the whole region and the state of Arizona. With increased business, educational and workforce development partnerships, Sneaky Big Studios could result in the creation of thousands more jobs for our communities, including in the hospitality, lodging and skilled trades industries.

With lower operating costs and a right to work environment, Arizona offers an unparalleled business friendly environment. Together with Sneaky Big’s first-class amenities, equipment and cost savings, Arizona rivals Los Angeles and other more expensive markets. In addition, the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) has played an instrumental role in the development of a public-private partnership to reestablish the Arizona Office of Film & Digital Media. This effort, accomplished with no public funding, will showcase the state as a prime destination for entertainment industry productions. Under the exemplary leadership of Matthew Earl Jones, the new film office is sure to open a new chapter for the media and production industry in Arizona. Both of these endeavors demonstrate a strong commitment to grow the film industry and ensure that it will flourish for years to come.

As we attract and expand film production and related services that will strengthen our regional economy, it is important for policymakers to be aware of programs that can help businesses grow. Arizona’s small businesses make up approximately 98 percent of all employers in the state and 95 percent of all employers in Maricopa County. I was encouraged to learn from Chris Loeffler, President and CEO of Caliber that the Regulation A+ (Reg A+) tool is providing businesses more investment choices to expand. Programs like Reg A+ allow small and medium-sized businesses to access capital, without having to go through a traditional venture capital experience. This provides a less burdensome alternative that helps businesses grow.  Mr. Loeffler has graciously offered his services and to share his experience with other businesses in our region to inform them about this tool. The MAG EDC stands ready to disseminate information to small and medium-sized businesses in our communities. Working together with our economic development and business partners, we can bring additional awareness to this innovative program and transform our region’s economy.

EDC Meeting Summary

Economic Opportunities Through a World-Class State-of-the-Art-Production Studio

As noted above, Sneaky Big Studios is a world-class production facility that provides the perfect setting for television and commercial shoots, recording sessions, web and media productions, press conferences, corporate training videos, events and more. Marianne Curran, Vice President of YAM Worldwide and CEO of Sneaky Big Studios, provided a brief overview on the company. Sneaky Big Studios is also working with the Arizona Commerce Authority to revive the film and production industry in Arizona. Arizona Office of Film & Digital Media Director Matthew Earl Jones provided an overview on this effort. Arizona has every type of location, vendors and support to handle any size production. Although Arizona does not As noted above, Sneaky Big Studios is a world-class production facility that provides the perfect setting for television and commercial shoots, recording sessions, web and media productions, press conferences, corporate training videos, events and more. Marianne Curran, Vice President of YAM Worldwide and CEO of Sneaky Big Studios, provided a brief overview on the company. Sneaky Big Studios is also working with the Arizona Commerce Authority to revive the film and production industry in Arizona. Arizona Office of Film & Digital Media Director Matthew Earl Jones provided an overview on this effort. Arizona has every type of location, vendors and support to handle any size production. Although Arizona does not offer tax credits, the state is still very competitive due to its low costs, friendly business environment, hospitality and quality of life. A major focus of the film office will be to work together with Arizona film schools to develop the workforce necessary to grow the film industry. Other upcoming efforts include working with the private sector in related industries to negotiate incentives for the film industry as a group.offer tax credits, the state is still very competitive due to its low costs, friendly business environment, hospitality and quality of life. A major focus of the film office will be to work together with Arizona film schools to develop the workforce necessary to grow the film industry. Other upcoming efforts include working with the private sector in related industries to negotiate incentives for the film industry as a group.

Caliber Reports on a New Economic Development Tool for Small and Medium Sized Businesses

Regulation A+ (Reg A+) is a new federal legislation tool that levels the playing field for small businesses that want to grow and access capital from individual investors. Chris Loeffler, CEO and co-founder of Caliber - The Wealth Development Company, provided insight on how this tool can benefit companies in the region.

Reg A+ became available to companies in 2015 and allows private companies to raise up to $50 million from the public. By inviting early adopters to participate in a Reg A+ offering, a company can reward its customers by making them brand ambassadors. These new rules provide investors with more investment choices. The first and most successful company that used Reg A+ was Elio Motors in Phoenix, Arizona. Caliber itself utilized this tool and was able to take the business to the next level. Actions that local government can take include raising awareness about this tool in the business community and among Canadian companies with operations in Arizona, supporting Reg A+ filers, and connecting business to the right resources. On January 19-22, 2017, Caliber will host an Annual Summit with credit investors at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where more in-depth discussions on Reg A+ will take place.

Update from the Arizona Commerce Authority

Arizona Commerce Authority staff noted that ACA is partnering with MAG on the next ExporTech program, with a regional focus. ACA also just closed the application process for the Venture Madness program of 2017 and received 82 applications from around the nation. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, has been in conversations with the U.S.-Mexico CEO Forum to plan a joint initiative on topics such as broadband, energy, finance, workforce exchange and more.

Update from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) staff commented that two market intelligence reports are coming up soon. On January 30, 2017, GPEC will be joining with the National Aerospace States Association on an aerospace day at the capitol and will be presenting an update to the 2013 aerospace and defense marking intelligence report. In February, GPEC is presenting the Foreign Direct Investment plan developed in partnership with other agencies through the Global Cities Initiatives.

Comments from the Committee

WESTMARC President and CEO Sintra Hoffman commented that WESTMARC recently moved its office to Westgate and that the Governor’s State of the State luncheon event is coming up in January. She also acknowledged the unfortunate passing of Bill Sheldon, a former EDC member. A tribute to him will take place at WESTMARC’s business annual meeting in February, 2017.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of the EDC will be on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. at the MAG Office, 302 N. First Avenue, Phoenix, second floor, Saguaro Room.

The EDC E-Update is a monthly electronic newsletter providing information about the activities of the MAG Economic Development Committee. For questions regarding this e-mail, or to be removed from the distribution list, contact Denise McClafferty or Alana Chávez Langdon at (602) 254-6300, or via e-mail at dmcclafferty@azmag.gov or alangdon@azmag.gov.

Jan 10, 2017
 
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