By Lewis Humphreys
The City of Tucson and the University of Arizona’s Tech Launch Arizona have formed a Commercialization Network Alliance to nurture technology based start-up companies in Tucson. A primary focus of the new Alliance is for the City and the University to collaborate on activities that identify, harness, and include Tucson’s most entrepreneurial citizens in the development of start-up companies based upon technologies created by UA faculty and students. Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) currently engages thought leaders, domain experts, and potential investors to support UA technologies through the TLA WheelHouse™ , run by TLA Director of Commercialization Networks and Operations Sherry Hoskinson. The Alliance will create synergies with the University and the City in support of TLA WheelHouse™ efforts to launch tech start-ups.
To begin the new Alliance, the City of Tucson will engage an independent contractor, who will work closely with Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) and City staff to develop and grow the highly promising local technology commercialization ecosystem. Tucson has been identified in several recent national studies as one of the most promising cities for entrepreneurship and innovation in the country, and the Commercialization Network Alliance is being created to help fully realize this promise. The creation of new businesses is an important part of a successful economic development strategy for the City, and Tucson is rich in professional, executive leadership and a wide range of essential domain expertise that the Alliance intends to engage.
The Commercialization Network consultant (who will be identified by a selection committee after a competitive call for proposals through the City’s procurement process) will work with the Alliance team to develop short- and long-term strategies and tactics, drawing on Tucson talent and expertise, to increase the number of Tucson tech start-up companies. “The City of Tucson welcomes this opportunity to work with our university partners to help create the conditions necessary for start-up success,” said Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “This is an important investment in building a base which will benefit not only University of Arizona start-ups, but all entrepreneurs in our city.”
In an interview about the new initiative, David Allen, UA Vice President and TLA Executive Director, stated, “This represents an important milestone in Tech Launch Arizona’s efforts to increase the number of UA tech start-ups. Our goal is to have at least ten new companies a year emerging from the development and commercialization of UA research.” While acknowledging that this process will take time, he said, “People should expect to see progress from this Alliance that has significant local impact.”
Allen also noted that this new Alliance is fully supported by the UA President and was voted for by the Mayor and City Council. “We’re delighted for this opportunity to work closely with the City. What I find so promising is the City and the University share a common vision for the creation of this new Alliance, and the vision is to leverage the wealth of human expertise and connections within Tucson and Southern Arizona as a focused network to attract, support, and incubate economic opportunities for the benefit of the entire region.”
Top photo by David A. Harvey.