Startup Tucson Wins National Lab-to-Market Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem Prize Competition

TUCSON, ARIZONA --January 20, 2020 -- The U.S. Small Business Administration partnered with the National Science and Technology Council’s Lab-to-Market subcommittee to award $330,000 in prizes to the winners of the new Lab-to-Market (L2M) Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem Prize Competition. Startup Tucson was one of only four national recipients to receive the award in the “Super Connector” Category, for current efforts to successfully attract and/or support networks of underrepresented communities in the R&D innovation ecosystem. The award comes with a $10,000 prize.

"For Startup Tucson to be recognized as one of the top four connecters in the US is no surprise to me. Tucson is now on the radar as a great place to start a company, thanks in large part to the efforts of Startup Tucson, the TENWEST Festival and partner organizations like The Arizona FORGE, SALC, the City of Tucson, UArizona and the Arizona Commerce Authority" Fletcher McCusker, Board Chair, Startup Tucson

The L2M prize competition recognizes the most impactful organizations, programs and ideas

that support the research and development (R&D) innovation ecosystems, particularly those

focused on underrepresented communities and pandemic responses. The competition’s goal is to encourage entrepreneurship and inclusive, sustainable growth by developing and

commercializing technology to improve access to resources. Startup Tucson has been recognized for their work in creating a more accessible and inclusive

ecosystem through the Tucson Startup Ecosystem Guide, a free online resource for

entrepreneurs, developed in partnership with the Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

SALC has been a proud partner with Startup Tucson since its inception to ensure that budding entrepreneurs, as well as existing ones, have the tools they need to grow and sustain their businesses. - Ted Maxwell, SALC

The award also recognized Startup Tucson’s leadership role in organizing the Tucson

Innovation Partnership (TIP) an open membership group dedicated to breaking down silos in the region’s economic development landscape, impactful local collaboration. Both of these projects, the Ecosystem Guide and TIP, speak volumes about the level of collaboration and positive momentum that our innovation community has built over the past few years. As Startup Tucson, we are glad to play a role in it, but truly the spotlight belongs on the community as a whole as we have pulled together to support each other and entrepreneurs. We believe it is through this type of coordinated effort that we will be able to bounce back stronger in the months and years to come.


Startup Tucson is 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to transform our region’s economy through entrepreneurship and education. Startup Tucson executes this mission by providing education and culture building programs and events to grow a high-impact entrepreneurial and innovative ecosystem. You can find information about the organization and upcoming opportunities to engage at For questions or comments, please reach out to Dre Thompson directly at .

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