PHX Startup Week expands statewide in 7th year
PHX Startup Week, a grassroots event that started in 2014, is expanding even further in 2021 as Arizona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is uniting, growing and overcoming the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the month of April, key organizations across the state are teaming up to shine a spotlight on Arizona’s resilient small businesses and entrepreneurial community through the Startup Together AZ partnership. Throughout the month of April, attendees will join thousands of diverse entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors at virtual events to learn, connect, and be inspired by the innovation and creativity of Arizona.
“A vibrant entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem is a critical component in the overall success of Arizona’s economy,” said Sandra Watson, president & CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority. “We’re very proud to partner with organizations statewide to present Startup Together AZ as a part of our efforts to support startups and small businesses. This month-long series of events will help participants learn new skills, build valuable connections through networking, and showcase the important resources available in our state.”
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Examples of programming offerings include:
• Arizona Commerce Authority hosting a Mentor Mania and Small Business Boot Camp
• Startup Tucson hosting IdeaFunding
• Southern Arizona’s largest pitch competition
• Moonshot at NACET in Flagstaff doing a Business of Bio Boot Camp, a biotech and life sciences boot camp for emerging and established entrepreneurs
• Local First Arizona hosting a Good Business Summit to focus on small business perseverance, social justice and environmental action.
Attendees can visit www.startuptogetheraz.com to view the full calendar of events.
“We are excited to be teaming up with premiere entrepreneurial organizations across the state to focus on entrepreneurship and supporting small businesses for the full month of April,” said Dre Voelkel, executive vice president, Startup Tucson. “We have coordinated our events to be inclusive of both Main Street businesses and high-growth startups. Startup Tucson is excited for working with state partners to address the pressing concerns of our community in a timely way.”
The month will end with PHX Startup Week, five days of keynote speakers, workshops and tactical learning sessions. The week will culminate with partnership panels and Q&A’s hosted by Golden Seeds, an international women-led investment group, as well as Invest Southwest’s Venture Madness team who will lead a discussion of best practices on how to take advantage of the live-pitch competition planned for October.
“As one of the largest angel investor networks in the United States, Golden Seeds has nearly 300 members whose skills, networks and mentorships offer a unique opportunity to support early-stage entrepreneurs,” said Annie Brooks, managing director, Arizona chapter of Golden Seeds. “Our determination ensures women-led, gender-diverse companies receive the funding they need and have an opportunity to succeed. We invite you to our virtual fireside chat, ‘If you could ask an investor one question,’ an event programmed at PHX Startup Week on April 30, 2021. We are excited to hear from innovative businesses, and continue to support our Arizona entrepreneurs.”
Kate Rogers Sieker, a veteran to PHX Startup Week, is spearheading the volunteer-led event for the third year. To participate in PHX Startup Week, visit www.PHXStartupWeek.com.
In a move to help unify and amplify the community, Sieker is also taking over as lead for #yesphx (www.yesphx.com), a hashtag that has served as a collaborative social media presence to connect the Phoenix entrepreneurial ecosystem for over seven years. This organic community effort is what eventually led to PHX Startup Week, instigated by community leaders such as Jonathan Cottrell, Matt Simpson, Vincent Orleck, and many others. The #yesphx digital connection platform will continue to align, amplify, and connect the entrepreneur community of Greater Phoenix.
Sieker is also leading ThrivePHX (www.ThrivePhx.co), an initiative dedicated to preserving, supporting and growing diversity and inclusion in the state through connection, continuity and community communication.
“Creating unification and support with all these community programs is a natural next step for the momentum our community has generated,” Sieker said. “I am so excited to see what the future holds for our ecosystem.”