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Elevating our local innovation ecosystem through thought-provoking presentations and discussions with leading national thinkers and doers. 

Innovation Economics is a new series from Startup Tucson focused on sharing why entrepreneurship is so critical for economic development and what we can do to set startups up for success.


Through stories and statistics, the Startup Tucson team will discuss these topics with national thought-leaders as they share cutting edge research, policies and programs designed to support all types of entrepreneurs and local economies.





Director of the Center on Technology, Data and Society

Phoenix, AZ

The Role of Digital Businesses in the Resiliency of Local Economies


New research has recently revealed that small-scale entrepreneurs provide major spillover benefits into their communities and that counties with more of these types of ventures were faster to recover from the last recession than other locations. This provides a new measure of digital activity at the grassroots that has been largely hidden from view, limiting our understanding of entrepreneurship and technology’s impact on communities. Professor Karen Mossberger from ASU’s School of Public Policy. will present key insights derived from the study and discuss what implications these have for public policy in cities like Tucson.

JUNE 2020






New Orleans, LA

How New Orleans Became an Unexpected Tech Hub


Greater New Orleans is the fastest growing tech cluster in America and one of the top tech hubs for diverse entrepreneurs. It was not always the case and the nonprofit The Idea Village has been central to the transformation, working as the central hub for almost 20 years. New Orleans and Tucson have many similarities in our strengths and also challenges. We chatted with CEO of The Idea Village, Jon Atkinson to discover lessons learned and dig deeper into the ways that entrepreneurship is a vital part of economic development.

JULY 2020


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Senior Community Development Advisor

Kansas City, MO

Inclusivity Increases Economic Productivity in Entrepreneurship Ecosystems

Dell Gines is one of the nation's foremost experts on grow-your-own, entrepreneurship-led economic development strategies. He is especially passionate about rural and inner-city economic development and providing information, research and strategies on building entrepreneurship ecosystems. 


He is a renowned thought-leader on diversity in entrepreneurship, often as a keynote speaker at events such as South by Southwest, Kauffman EShip Summit, and many other national conferences and summits. 

August, 2020



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Detroit, MI

Running One of the World's Most Innovative Companies: Motown Musician Accelerator

Motown Musician Accelerator -- a 12-week business program for musicians and/or bands -- was recently named one of the World's Most Innovative Companies of 2020 (Fast Company).  In partnership with TechTown Detroit and gener8tor, this program demonstrated the power of creative entrepreneurship for economic development and cultural capital.  Suai Kee is both a musician and the Director of this ground breaking program. 


September, 2020





Marie Roker-Jones

Co-CEO of Essteem

New York, NY

Hacking for Equality: Women in Tech


As the Nation Center for Women & Information Technology say “We are missing out on the innovations, solutions, and creations that 50% of the population could bring.”  Women are still under-represented in the STEM fields.  This month’s Innovation Economics features the Co-CEO of the Equalithons:Hack-a-thons for Equality, Marie Roker-Jones. Her company Essteem has been taking an innovative approach to closing the gap for women in technology fields and their participating companies are seeing an increase in tech innovation quality (+15%), +20% productivity, and 2x investor ROI as a result.  Come learn more about how they are doing it!

October 15th  2020



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Innovating across Borders

University of Arizona Center for Innovation

International Companies

Startup Tucson

Innovating across Borders: Creating and Taking Advantage of Global Programs and Markets


Success in one country does not always mean success in another for both incubators and founders. But in today's global economy, working with international founders and entering new markets is more important than ever. When new businesses enter the region, they purchase services, hire employees, consume infrastructure and attract capital making it critical that we are here to support them in the best way possible.


Join us to explore the world of international incubation from the perspective of global entrepreneurs that have made that jump and those working in these incubators to create onramps to make expanding operations into the States easier for these companies.


Facilitated by Startup Tucson, the University of Arizona Center for Innovation will share lessons learned from its various international incubation and attraction programs. We will also be joined by two different international founders -- one that made the move to the U.S. to take advantage of a new market and the other that has participated in an international market access program. They will discuss the benefits and tactics of working to take advantage of these international programs and markets. 

November 19th at 9 AM