Tucson continues to receive significant national recognition for its entrepreneurial culture. With consistently high national rankings, the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program at The University of Arizona's Eller College of Management and various public and private organizations support start-up businesses and entrepreneurs with the necessary resources for launching new ventures.
The Tucson region offers capital resources like the Desert Angels. Desert Angels is a Tucson-based nonprofit organization of accredited Angel investors who seek opportunities to invest in regional start-up or early-stage no-tech, low-tech, or high-tech companies. Private local venture capitalists like Solstice Capital and Valley Ventures III LP provide venture capital for companies that have a product or service in testing or pilot production and also serve as the primary source of capital once the venture matures into a viable business. There are also many regional venture capital firms.
Arizona's Angel Tax Credit, SB1335, is made available to investors in early-stage "qualified small businesses." The credit can be used to offset Arizona taxes over a three-year period. The income tax credit is equal to 30% of the investment amount, increasing to 35% for investments in "bioscience enterprises" and companies located in rural parts of the state. A "qualified investment" must be an equity investment in a minimum amount of $25,000 per investment, limited to a maximum of $250,000 in investments on which tax credits are allowed in all qualified small businesses per year. The tax credits are capped at $20 million during the five-year life of the program.
The Arizona Center for Innovation is a unique high-tech incubator that guides its clients through the business development process. The Center's goal is to identify and bring to market commercially viable technologies early in the innovation process in six areas: aerospace, advanced composites and materials, information technology, environmental technology, life sciences, and optics/photonics. Clients are advised by experienced venture capitalists and successful entrepreneurs in a professional environment.
IdeaFunding is a local non-profit organization whose goal is to assist entrepreneurs, researchers and scientists in identifying and accessing the alternative sources of capital available to them in the Southern Arizona marketplace. IdeaFunding works to enhance participants’ knowledge through workshops and seminars hosted by professionals in their respective industries. In addition, IdeaFunding gives useful suggestions regarding business plan content and how to turn an idea into reality.
In November, 2009 TREO launched the Entrepreneurial Economy Blueprint, to focus on entrepreneurship and to create new jobs and community wealth through the start-up, growth and expansion of knowledge-based enterprises. A task force of 23 leaders formed to develop recommendations for a new economic engine - the Entrepreneurial Economy for Tucson. Read the final results here in a BizTucson Magazine Special Report.
Focus areas of the Entrepreneurial Economy report are:
Angel, Venture and other Capital Resources: Addressing key gaps and leveraging new “Fund of Funds” State program
Talent Attraction/Retention: Improving the product of Tucson for the “Creative Class Entrepreneur”
Enhanced Infrastructure: Strengthening incubation of the next big idea
Forming University/Industry Research Partnerships: Aligning strategies to achieve a common vision
Technology Transfer: Getting more out of the UA’s research powerhouse
Promoting Technology-based Economic Development: Aligning marketing efforts to plan strategies
Communication Plan: Extending entrepreneurial opportunity by building a robust communications campaign
There are many programs to help businesses obtain long-term, fixed-rate financing for business purchases. The Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Guarantee Program, Microloan Program, and the Business Development Finance Corporation are a few examples.
In addition to funding resources, many organizations provide assistance in developing business plans: Pima Community College's Small Business Development Center, SCORE Counselors to America's Small Business, and Micro Business Advancement Center (MAC).