ASU’s economic development efforts to stimulate the local economy


May 10, 2021

7 ASU innovation zones across the valley guide companies through every stage of development

Arizona State University’s Economic Development Team is celebrating Economic Development Week at a most unusual time. Although the event is recognized nationwide from May 9 to 15, many cities across the country continue to struggle amid the rubble of the pandemic. Fortunately, ASU continues to develop innovative ways to promote and advance a resilient economy that, in the long run, will be less vulnerable to future disruptions.

“ASU is continually developing forward-thinking approaches to solving great challenges,” said Aric Bopp, executive director of economic development at ASU. “In addition to the university’s contribution to Arizona’s overall economy, we are also fortunate to operate in a unique ecosystem. , in the form of innovation zones.

“The innovation zones are part of ASU’s economic development portfolio and offer a multitude of opportunities for companies to co-locate with us, to have access to a diverse pool of student talent and to work with staff. and professors from one of the main research institutes. in the nation. ”

What is the impact of ASU innovation zones on the health of the Greater Phoenix economy? It begins by creating a collaborative environment in which top-level companies can be integrated into one of ASU’s seven zones: the Phoenix Biomedical Campus; Arizona Health Solutions Corridor; the ASU polytechnic campus; SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center; ASU research park; ASU West Campus; or the Novus Innovation Corridor, strategically located on ASU’s Tempe campus.

“Over 55% of ASU graduates stay in the state to launch their careers,” Bopp said. “Almost a quarter of a million ASU graduates worked in the state in 2018, earning an estimated $ 15.9 billion and paying $ 1.13 billion in state and local taxes. Overall, the economic impact of ASU’s operations on Arizona’s gross product in fiscal year 19 was $ 4 billion. ”

Of course, creating a resilient economy goes beyond opportunities for collaboration, talent acquisition and research. It is also about creating an environment conducive to the training of a talented, educated and skilled workforce capable of advancing the industries of the future.

“Arizona’s world-class universities are critical to our state’s attractiveness to advanced industries,” said Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “The research, training and technology development that takes place at our universities contributes to our strong innovation ecosystem, and we are proud to partner with our universities to make Arizona a vibrant place for jobs and businesses.” high-tech. ”

Bopp points to the ASU charter as further proof of the university’s commitment to the community.

“Part of ASU’s commitment to being responsible for the social and economic well-being of the communities we serve is that we have a corresponding commitment to produce universal master learners,” said Bopp. “Our students are not only educated in their fields of study, but they are also learning that our world is constantly changing. Their professional trajectories will require them to pivot, adapt, learn and relearn throughout their lives. They integrate this mindset into their jobs and become exceptional, innovative and problem-solving employees. ”

According to Bopp, ASU’s economic development team works closely with local and state economic development entities to support a business-friendly environment in which businesses have the opportunity to thrive.

“ASU is a major factor in the success of Greater Phoenix’s economic development, and Dr. Michael Crow’s strategy for a new US university has elevated the region to new heights,” said Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “As we propel our innovation-driven economy, it is essential to meet the demands of current and future industry. A highly skilled workforce, especially in STEM-related fields, is a major asset for companies looking to grow and an integral facet to continue securing investments from future innovators and the world’s largest companies.

Arizona is a pro-business state, and elected officials and economic development entities work in tandem to ensure a smooth navigation on the road from offshoring to startup to business success. Companies are attracted to the Vallée du Soleil for the economic environment, the climate and access to a well-trained workforce.

“We fully recognize that every business has different needs and that those needs change over time,” said Bopp. “Our innovation zones are designed to offer flexible and creative options to partners and tenants. A one-man start-up can go on a monthly lease and in no time grow into a 50-person company, 100-person company, or even a 1,000-person company. We will work with them every step of the way to grow with them.

“A partner can hire a handful of ASU students a semester, and a year later, bring in research professors or an on-site practice lab to lead the development of a new mobile app to bring it through. business at the top level. We are here to support the growth and development cycles of our tenants and partners in a way that benefits everyone. “

According to Bopp, colocation on a thriving world-class campus is a sort of optional ‘bonus’, as colocation puts innovative, like-minded companies close to each other and cutting-edge researchers, positioning them with access to exceptional students.

“Our business development team supports the development and advancement of business whether or not the company chooses to reside in one of our innovation zones,” Bopp explained. “But of course, if an organization wants to participate in research initiatives or align with one of our industries of excellence, it tends to realize that co-location offers a much wider range of benefits, including l ‘access to expertise, facilities and University Resources. ”

Industries of excellence include aerospace and aviation, autonomous vehicles, biomedical devices, cybersecurity, data science and engineering, and semiconductors, among others. Some of the tenants who call ASU Innovation Zone a home include Dell Technologies, Infosys, and Amazon Web Services.

Bopp says there’s more to the economic development mindset than what you think, and he’s seeing more and more interested companies appreciating the nuances of what ASU offers in terms of business support. Certainly, savvy businesses want strategically located operations with low regulatory burden, as well as access to transportation hubs and a skilled workforce. They also want to be in an attractive environment with regard to the cost of living and access to education, nature, arts and culture.

“Companies also recognize the value of good business management and of being in an environment that supports diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Bopp. “ASU has become a champion of global sustainability, and we are developing specialized training and development programs to meet the needs of our partner companies. Being aligned with an institution like ours brings intrinsic value that many of our partners and tenants seek.

Bopp said ASU takes great pride in the fact that an affiliation with the university is seen as a real plus for companies looking to relocate or expand to Arizona. “They are in good company,” Bopp said. “And we are in good company.”

ASU Innovation Zones are located in seven distinct locations across the valley, each offering unique options for partners and tenants. A site selector is located on the website to help businesses, leasing agents, and developers focus on a location that meets the specific needs of a business. Bopp also offers personal consultations to help interested parties determine what will work best for them.

“ASU doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to everything we do,” Bopp said. “Not only are the economic development needs of businesses unique, they are very likely to change as the business grows and develops. We are an advocate and a resource. We are here for the life cycle of this evolution and we are here to help you every step of the way. ”

Written by Lisa McQuerrey. Top photo by Todd Photographic Services.

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