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Larry Hecker and Sherry Hoskinson “Bright Futures” Award

An important element in IdeaFunding history is the tradition of honoring aspiring entrepreneurs and community leaders who have helped inspire others and build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tucson and Southern Arizona.

Originally founded by Larry Hecker and Sherry Hoskinson, IdeaFunding has been a part of both the University of Arizona’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship and the Arizona Center for Innovation, and now calls Startup Tucson home.

For over 20 years, IdeaFunding has been Tucson’s premier event for cultivating Southern Arizona’s entrepreneurial community bringing together individual and aspiring entrepreneurs, early-stage product and service developers, and startup founders with mentors, advisors, and investors for a day of networking, education and opportunity.

Always active in this event, the founders created a Lasting Community Builder Award in 2013 to recognize an individual that has shown outstanding commitment and dedication to building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tucson, making a lasting impact as a community builder.

And this year, Larry Hecker and Sherry Hoskinson established the new Bright Futures Award, as a complement to their original one. The Award recognizes an individual in the earlier part of their career that has already shown that they embody the same traits as those of the Lasting Community Building Award and is poised to continue to make an impact on our ecosystem moving forward. With her active involvement in many areas of the Tucson entrepreneurial ecosystem, and equally involved and passionate about entrepreneurs on the other side of the border, Startup Unidos Founder Stephanie Bermudez.

If you’ve seen Stephanie in action, you’ll agree that she is consistently pivoting and creating balance between many points of inspiration in work and community outreach. Her dynamism extends into many programs and yet her passion is never diluted.

If you see her around town, and we’re sure you will, tell her congratulations – we’re sure it’s one of many awards to come as she truly is a Rising Star!

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