Mesa coordinating with ASU on business accelerator - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Mesa coordinating with ASU on business accelerator

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Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 5:46 pm | Updated: 5:46 pm, Tue Oct 8, 2013.

A long-planned venture between the City of Mesa and Arizona State University to boost local companies is set to open its doors within the next two months.

Called Launchpoint, Mesa Economic Development Project Manager Shea Joachim said the purpose of the accelerator program is to help aspiring technology companies take the next step in their development by getting them connected with experts, mentors and networking opportunities.

It’s the reason why he said the organization opted to use accelerator versus incubator, as the goal is to help companies that have already launched but are in the early stages of their development.

Launchpoint will be located at the Arizona State University Polytechnic campus and adjacent to both AZLabs and the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. Organizations that are also involved in the program include the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Joachim said the initiative to start the accelerator began approximately three years ago, but was waylaid for a variety of reasons tied to the tenuous economic situation. The wait also encompassed the official partnership with ASU, which was formalized this past June.

“That’s when the faucet turned on,” he said.

Since then, Joachim said the city has worked to get the location ready for the official opening, which he said is planned for either later this month or in early November.

“This is certainly going to be a learning experience for the city,” he said.

The first wave of companies Joachim said the city has a broad idea of the technology companies it wants to attract to the accelerator once it does open, although he added the location, which is filled with office space, offers limits to what type of companies can use it.

Generally though, Joachim said the hope is to recruit companies that can connect with ASU and, for example, offer internship opportunities for students.

While the businesses who participate receive access to a variety of expert advisors and tools like office space, mail service and meeting space, Joachim said the city benefits by nurturing the companies at an early stage in their development. Getting to those companies early, he said, could persuade them to stay in the East Valley — he hopes they decide to stay in Mesa — and improve the region by adding high-quality and high-wage jobs to the tax area.

“In a way, that improves the tax bass, that improves the quality of life,” he said.

More information about the project is available by visiting http://evtnow.com/5wn.

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