Connecting Small Businesses to Local SBIR Resources

The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) and University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) continue collaborating to host an event on September 16, 2022, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM that will connect small businesses with local Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) funding and resources. ACA and UACI have worked together for over a decade, hosting events and increasing SBIR awards in the state. SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage on Federal Research/Research and Development with the potential for commercialization.

Join ACA and UACI at the UA Tech Park off Rita Road and Interstate-10 for an event filled with presentations and panel sessions from a wide spectrum of organizations. Learn more about the role they play in assisting Tucson small businesses through their SBIR funding journey. Each presentation will provide important insight on leveraging opportunities and resources for local startups to secure funding for their innovations.


Sierra Vista & UA Center for Innovation Collaborate

In an effort to advance economic development, the Sierra Vista Chamber of Commerce is collaborating with the University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) to develop a startup business incubator located in the region. UACI serves scalable science and technology startups through people, programming and places that help entrepreneurs take their companies from idea to market. Startups go through a structured program that takes them through a continuum of training provided by mentors, advisors and community collaborators working with them through a 27-point roadmap.


Dimensional Energy Featured on CNN

CNN came to the UA Tech Park to interview Dimensional Energy's Chief Science Officer Brad Brennan for the station's international segment, "Tech for Good". While here, CNN toured the campus and got a closer look at the Solar Zone while filming their demonstration site. Dimensional Energy became a UACI client in 2022 and the company gives carbon dioxide new life as a cost-effective building block for industrial fuels and consumer products traditionally made from fossil carbon.


University of Arizona Venture Mentoring Service Launches

In a partnership between The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI), Tech Launch Arizona (TLA) and Arizona FORGE, the University of Arizona Venture Mentoring Service (UAZVMS) launched this month. It all started with an introductory workshop for the first cohort of UAZVMS mentors led by serial entrepreneur, Kent Summers. Through the program, entrepreneurs connected to the University of Arizona launching a new venture can get free mentorship from experienced, trained, vetted mentors to help them develop successful startup strategies.


Sponsored Launch: An IASP Inspiring Solution

Tech Parks Arizona will be representing the USA at the 2022 International Association for Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) World Conference in Seville, Spain. The University of Arizona Center for Innovation's Sponsored Launch program has been shortlisted as one of ten finalists in the international competition of Inspiring Solutions. The Sponsored Launch program is a collaboration between the startup incubator network and an organization or municipality to provide a sponsored year at the incubator for a startup team. Program entrance grants the winning startup with resources, facilities, services and expert guidance to grow their business.


IdeaFunding Kicks Off with 115 Applicants

IdeaFunding, Southern Arizona's largest and longest entrepreneurial conference and pitch competition, received 115 applications for the 2022 competition. These applicants took their first step forward in the IdeaFunding competition by attending the first pitch training session with speaker Mark Moeremans, Senior Vice President of Entrepreneurship & Venture Development at Arizona Commerce Authority. IdeaFunding celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with $25,000 in prizes at the mainstage competition November 3, 2022, during the TENWEST Impact Festival, which is co-led by UACI and Startup Tucson.


Startup Spotlight:

Ambr Grading

Ambr Grading is a collector-card authentication and grading company for trading card games (TGC) like Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon. The startup recently showcased their products and accepted cards for authentication and sealing using their proprietary technology at Tucson Comic Con. Using livestreams, Ambr Grading has been connecting with followers and target audiences to showcase the technology and authentication process.


Dancing with Our Stars

The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona brings the "Dancing with Our Stars" gala fundraiser back in 2022. The event brings leaders from across Tucson together for a competition reminiscent of the popular ABC show, "Dancing with The Stars". UACI Executive Director, Eric Smith, will be dancing the Nightclub Two Step at the event to help raise funds for the Diaper Bank by collecting votes in the form of donations through September 24, 2022. Tickets to the event are available to purchase through the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona's website, and donations/votes are currently being accepted.

September 22 & 29

Apply for DOE Funding to Commercialize Innovative Solar Technologies

UACI is hosting a series of commercialization workshops in support of the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) Solar Manufacturing Incubator funding opportunity. SETO is seeking research, development and demonstration projects that reduce solar energy costs while developing next-generation technologies and boosting manufacturing. If you plan to submit an application please register for our upcoming events.

Commercialization Strategy Webinar on September 22, 2022 at 11:00 AM PST - UACI Mentor in Residence, Steve Wood will present key questions and strategies related to market, customer discovery, IP and finance that you should consider when developing your overall commercialization strategy.

Commercialization Panel of Experts on September 29, 2022 at 1:00 PM PST - UACI Executive Director, Eric Smith, will host a panel of commercialization experts with experience in the areas of manufacturing, legal/IP concerns, marketing/customer discovery, product development and diversity, equity and inclusion.

For more information contact Amanda Buchanan, UACI Program Manager.

September 23

Tucson Metro Chamber Copper Cactus Awards

Join Tucson Metro Chamber in celebrating another year of innovation, business growth and social impact in Southern Arizona. This year's Copper Cactus Awards will be hosted at the Tucson Convention Center on September 23, 2022 from 5-9 PM. It's going to be a fabulous night and a grand community celebration.

October 19

Arizona Tech Council Tech + Business Expo

The Arizona Technology Council (AZTC) and the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) proudly present the Tenth Annual Arizona Tech + Business Expo on October 19, 2022 from 12-6 PM at the Tucson Convention Center. Network in person with over 400 business and tech leaders and learn what's new and trending across Southern Arizona's tech industries including transportation, automation, optics, biotech, mining, aerospace, defense, logistics, robotics, space exploration, IT and more.

November 1-5

TENWEST Impact Festival Including IdeaFunding

TENWEST Impact Festival helps the curious and the impassioned solve the great economic, social, cultural and environmental challenges facing our communities. Through Immersive exhibitions, talks and interactive experiences, national experts and local heroes will inspire the ideas and facilitate the connections that will empower us to act. IdeaFunding, Southern Arizona's largest and longest entrepreneurial conference and pitch competition, is celebrating its 25th anniversary with $25,000 in prizes and is part of the larger event. TENEST Festival is presented by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and co-lead by Startup Tucson and the University of Arizona Center for Innovation.

November 8

2022 Governor's Celebration of Innovation

Join Arizona Technology Council in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority to honor technology leaders and innovators from across the state with the Governor's Celebration of Innovation Awards on November 8, 2022 from 4:00-8:30PM at the Phoenix Convention Center. The event will consist of a Tech Showcase followed by a theatre-style awards program.


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LEARN MORE about our startup opportunities and mentorship programs below.


The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) is a key component of Tech Parks Arizona which brings together university, industry and community to advance technology innovation. UACI is the University of Arizona's startup incubator network with outposts across the Southern Arizona region with a mission to grow scalable startup ventures that fuel the Arizona ecosystem.