February 14, 2018
At the Economic Development Committee meeting, it was refreshing to hear about our collaborative regional efforts. Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), presented information about a new way of displaying information for large economic development projects that grew out of a partnership with MAG. Pioneered by MAG staff, the use of online maps or viewers have made it easy to display large amounts of information to the public. In collaboration with ACA, MAG developed a viewer to be used when pursuing large economic development projects. As Ms. Watson noted in her presentation, one recent example was Nikola headquarters, which will be located in Western Maricopa County and will create 2,000 new jobs.
This project was made possible through the close working relationship and trust between ACA and MAG. In the past, our two agencies also have collaborated on large data purchases, resulting in cost savings. We anticipate using this new viewer as a competitive advantage in securing large-scale projects that contribute to the economy of this region.
In the past several years, we have seen this region evolve and embed itself in the international economic development arena. This would not have been possible without the leadership and partnership of agencies such as ACA, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and MAG. Our combined efforts have allowed our state to compete in the global market and made it possible to attract and continue to appeal to innovative companies.
The Arizona Commerce Authority and MAG continue to collaborate on several initiatives. Recently, MAG provided technical assistance to develop a data tool to showcase the state for business attraction. Sandra Watson, President and CEO of ACA, provided an update on this collaboration, and MAG staff demonstrated a prototype tool. The tool is a viewer that consists of a variety of datasets that can showcase a specific geographic area. This marketing tool can be customized depending on the project’s needs. Examples of datasets this viewer can incorporate are joint technical education districts, child care facilities, college alumni, commute travel times, bike trails, restaurants, cultural venues, housing information, and more. This tool allows site selectors or companies outside Arizona to evaluate and look at our state in a more convenient and innovative way. The project that recently brought Nikola Motor Co., a truck-manufacturing plant, to the City of Buckeye, utilized this tool.
In 2014, the Eller College of Management moved its Phoenix programs to the University of Arizona's medical campus in downtown Phoenix. Paulo Goes, Dean of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, provided an update on the College. The mission of the business school is to be close to businesses and make connections with them. The business climate continues to change dramatically. We are in the fourth industrial revolution and the forces that are having a major impact—technology, globalization, the internet of things, and digital transformation—are shaping the future of higher education. Due to the changing environment, the Eller College of Management has chosen to focus on cybersecurity, data analytics, digital business, business healthcare, and entrepreneurship and innovation. The future of business education requires collaborative spaces that allow students, faculty and the business community to solve problems in an interdisciplinary way. No longer can individual fields solve the complex problems of today’s world.
With more than 95 percent of the world's population and 80 percent of the world's purchasing power outside the United States, future economic growth and jobs increasingly depend on expanding trade and investment opportunities in the global marketplace. In an effort to increase exporting in the Sun Corridor region, a number of organizations have come together to amplify business growth in international markets. Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) Director of Trade and Investment Ruth Soberanes provided an overview on GPEC’s activities to support exporting. The Metro Phoenix Export Alliance (MPEXA) recently worked on two programs designed to stimulate exporting in Greater Phoenix—Export Explore and Export Challenge. The Export Challenge Pitch Competition had three winners, the Scottsdale-based MistAmerica Corporation, Phoenix-based Wamore Inc., and Mesa-based EyeTech Digital Systems.
MAG is working with MPEXA and 13 other partners to offer a second year of the Sun Corridor Economic Development for the Global Economy (EDGE) Program. EDGE celebrates exporting success and helps companies in Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties expand their business potential in the global market. Applications for the 2018 Sun Corridor EDGE Program need to be submitted by February 28, 2018. On April 26, 2018, the companies participating in this program will be celebrated, their work will be highlighted, and the top scoring businesses will be showcased. The businesses participating in the EDGE program will also have the opportunity to participate in the ExporTech program, which is a boot camp where they can develop an export plan that will allow them to market their products overseas.
Arizona Commerce Authority President and CEO Sandra Watson commented that the ACA has closed 64 projects since the beginning of the fiscal year. ACA recently hosted a CEO forum on behalf of the Governor, with the goal of welcoming new potential businesses. This forum took place during the Waste Management Phoenix Open, with 14 out-of-state companies participating and having the opportunity to learn more about Arizona. ACA is working on a new program that is part of the recently approved tax reform. The program allows Arizona to establish opportunity zones, which will enable companies that invest in these zones to have lower taxes on capital gains. ACA also is working with the State of Sonora, Mexico, to host the Expo Business Arizona-Sonora in Hermosillo, on March 14-15, 2018. This is a business-to-business opportunity for companies in Arizona and Sonora. ACA recently hired a Vice President of International Business Attraction, Ondré Seltzer, who will be located in the Santa Monica office, and will work closely with the various consuls general in California to lead an international strategy.
Greater Phoenix Economic Council staff commented that they recently participated in the Select USA Japan innovation seminar event. During the US Commercial Service sponsored event, GPEC presented the Connected Place campaign. GPEC also brought site selector consultants to the Waste Management Phoenix Open to showcase the region and hosted several networking events.
The next meeting of the EDC will be on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 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 Natalia Cuneo at (602) 254-6300.
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