SCALE UP (Sustainable Communities Accessing Lending and Expertise Upon Performance) is an award-winning program under the Local First Arizona Sustainability umbrella that offers a comprehensive, hands-on educational series for locally-owned businesses looking to create a sustainable business model centered on tackling existing environmental and societal issues.
“Arizona’s small, independent businesses are in survival mode, but sustainability and resiliency planning is a key factor in returning stronger and prepared for the future. This program will help businesses save money, access low-interest loans, and reimagine business as usual in a fluctuating economy to attract customers, engage employees, and support the community,” says Mike Peel, Local First Arizona Statewide Sustainability Director.
The SCALE UP program received a grant through the Department of Energy’s State Energy Program, managed by the State of Arizona’s Department of Administration- General Services Division, and will launch four cohorts open to businesses in the Tucson and Phoenix metro areas. Each cohort will have the opportunity to collaborate with other businesses over the course of seven weeks on topics such as waste diversion, conserving energy and water, and implementing a culture of sustainability and resiliency in their business. The first cohort will convene virtually starting August 11. The deadline to apply is August 4. Businesses can apply at www.localfirstaz.com/2020-cohort-app.
“At the end of every class, I always felt that I had received excellent value. Each week I walked away with knowledge and felt there was hope for change working with businesses making changes for the better. I still use my SCALE UP binder as a reference book. I made significant investments in my home and business with ‘green’ improvements,” says Donna DiFiore, Owner of Delectables Catering & Venue in Tucson, AZ, and a 2018 SCALE UP graduate.
Upon completion, participants will have access to low-interest loans to finance their projects through the exclusive Green Community Fund, developed in partnership with the Community Investment Corporation. Learn more: www.localfirstaz.com/scale-up
The SCALE UP pilot launched in 2018 with 11 business owners and took home the Go Green Business Development Partner Award from Tucson Electric Power and the Tucson 2030 Changemaker Award in 2019 for its innovative and accessible approach to green business development in Arizona.