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The Tucson Innovation Partnership is an informal group of individuals and organizations seeking to serve the entrepreneurship and innovation communities. 

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Purpose of TIP
  • To help each other provide better services to our respective constituents within the startup community

  • To coordinate activities among the member organizations at a strategic level, not at the individual case level

  • To better represent the collective interests of entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses to the economic development community

How to Join

Membership is voluntary and open to anyone whose interests are aligned with TIP’s purpose and who finds value in participating in the monthly meetings. TIP membership will not be marketed publicly but members may invite guests to join. 

For further inquiries please feel free to reach out to

Organizational Structure 

No formal organization, however members should remain active attending and participating in the monthly meetings. 


The group will meet monthly to update each other on relevant programs and initiatives and discuss issues relevant to the purpose of the group. Specific needs or initiatives aligned with TIP’s purpose may be brought to the group, and interested members can form a committee to address them beyond the general monthly meetings.

Meeting Structure
  • Meets Second Wednesday of the Month from 3:00-4:00pm. 

  • Standing agenda: Intro to the purpose of TIP and of the meeting, Round robin updates (2-5 minutes depending on the number of attendees, keep it to what’s new and relevant), any specific topics of the month

Rules of Play: 

 As a participant you agree to:

  • Come to the table with your first priority being how to better serve the needs of startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses

  • Contribute positively to the discussion or not at all

  • No criticism or opinions, only suggestions as to how to improve

  • Stay on topic and limit lengthier discussions for follow-up meetings

Current Members

Allen Kinnison

Southern Arizona Leadership Council

Barbara Coffee 

City of Tucson 

Carol Stewart 

Tech Parks Arizona

Donna Hover-Ojeda

Mighty Underdogs

Eric Smith

University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI)

Felipe Garcia 

Visit Tucson

Greg Hitt

University of Arizona

Isabel Georgelos

YWCA Tucson, Women's Business Center

John Dennis

Optics Valley

John Sharp

McGuire Center for Enterpreneurship

Karen Burns


Leah Langlais

Tech Launch Arizona

Michael Slania

Pima IDA

Rob Elias

Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Sue Oliver


Alex Magallanes

Prestamos CDFI

Brian Ellerman 

University of Arizona FORGE

Casey Carrillo

University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI)

Doug Hockstad

Tech Launch Arizona

Erica Mitnik

Arizona FORGE

Fletcher McCusker

University of Arizona Venture Capital

Heath Vescovi-Chiordi

Pima County

Ian Roark

Pima Community College

Jim Jindrick LLC

Karla Morales

Arizona Tech Council

Kevin Burke

City of Tucson

Liz Pocock 

Startup Tucson 

Nicole Johnson

Tucson IDA

Rick Yngve 

Varsol Ventures

Stephen Fleming

University of Arizona

Alma Peralta

City of Tucson

Bruce Burgess

Tech Launch Arizona

Danny Knee

Community Investment Corporation

Dre Thompson

Groundswell Capital / Tucson IDA

Erica Yngve

Sonoran Stitch Factory

Frank Velasquez Jr.

Tucson Metro Chamber

Holly McAnally

University of Arizona FORGE

Jacquelyne Vega

City of Tucson

Joann MacMaster

Desert Angels

Kathy Prather

Pima JTED 

Lisa Schlegel

Pima Community College

Michael Guymon 

Tucson Metro Chamber 

Paul Melcher

Town of Oro Valley

Stephanie Bermúdez

Startup Unidos

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