Feedback: December 2016

by Bill Jabjiniak, Janine Jerkovic, Christine Mackay

Question: Describe one or two of your most effective policies or strategies to help startups grow in your city.

bill-jabjiniakBill Jabjiniak

Economic Development Director
City of Mesa
Sector: Government

LAUNCHPOINT, Mesa Technology Accelerator is a City of Mesa program created to accelerate the growth of young technology companies, thereby creating quality jobs and economic growth in the community. It is a place for connecting entrepreneurs by creating a supportive, flexible environment to help entrepreneurs grow and to increase economic activity within the region, and, in the upcoming year, will also offer a collaborative workspace program pass for qualified participating companies.

Mesa THINKspot is a collaborative workspace/makerspace in northeast Mesa where entrepreneurs can meet to collaborate and share ideas, and then bring those ideas to life using specialized computers, software, 3-D printers, a video studio and other technology tools. Mesa THINKspot also runs workshops to help entrepreneurs hone their business skills.

In addition, Mesa provides free online services for startups, such as the Mesa Business Resource Guide, filled with valuable information to help Mesa businesses succeed;, a powerful tool designed to help Mesa businesses gather and analyze market information; and, a real estate search engine that allows companies to search for land or buildings in Mesa.

Bill Jabjiniak leads a team of 13 professionals focused on business attraction, retention and expansion, workforce development and revitalization for Mesa. Prior to joining the City of Mesa, Jabjiniak served as director of Economic Development for the City of Richmond, Virginia. Notable Mesa attraction projects under Jabjiniak’s watch include Apple, Santander Consumer USA, Benedictine University at Mesa, Bridgestone Americas, Cessna Aviation and Crescent Crown Distributing.


jerkovic-jeanineJeanine Jerkovic

Economic Development Director
City of Surprise
Sector: Government

Surprise views the fostering of startup companies as critical to its economic future. That’s why more than a decade ago we were one of the first communities in Greater Phoenix to dedicate an employee position entirely to helping small businesses launch and succeed.

The AZ TechCelerator business incubator has been the city’s primary vehicle to help startups since 2009. Operated by the Surprise Economic Development Department, the AZ TechCelerator started as a creative reuse of former city hall office space that has emerged as a critical resource leveraged by unique local businesses that need a location to scale up affordably.

The business incubator currently is utilized by 16 client startups, two onsite service providers, and has a track record of more than 200 jobs graduated. The facility has been home to the only Google corporate office presence in the State of Arizona, following Google’s acquisition of the AZ TechCelerator-grown company Athena Wireless in 2015. The facility has also served as temporary corporate space for new international company locations to Surprise, generating more than 300 additional community jobs.

Jeanine Jerkovic’s decade with the City of Surprise Economic Development Department encompasses being the thought leader and project manager of the AZ TechCelerator. Previous economic development experience includes serving as a trade commissioner for the Canadian Consulate in Phoenix. She is currently the chair of GPEC Economic Development Directors Team and the board secretary for the Metro Phoenix Export Alliance.


christine-mackayChristine Mackay

Economic Development Director
City of Phoenix
Sector: Government

The City of Phoenix recognizes the importance of having a robust startup ecosystem. Our mayor and council have supported Startup Week Phoenix and other efforts, such as #yesphx, business incubators, accelerators, co-working and makerspaces, to foster entrepreneurial success within our community.

Phoenix supports thoughtful development of a dense mixed-use urban environment, which is key to attracting startups. We find that startup companies desire locations where they can create their own sense of space within collaborative communities and connect with other like-minded companies. By supporting transit-oriented development, Phoenix is providing walkable communities where startup companies can connect with their team members at local businesses. To further attract startups, city leadership has committed to creating an Innovation District where anchor institutions such as universities along with established companies cluster together to assist startups. We are very honored to have some of those startups on the Innovation District Steering Committee, which also includes local developers, educators and architects. Together, we will create a strategy and environment that continues to attract companies like Tuft & Needle, DoubleDutch, Gainsight, Hopscratch, Uber and others.

As Economic Development Director for the City of Phoenix, Christine Mackay is responsible for leading the Business Development Team, including the areas of business attraction; business retention and expansion; small business and entrepreneurial efforts; downtown development; and international, retail and workforce development. During the past five years, she has helped locate or expand more than 180 companies into the region. In 2016, she was named Economic Developer of the Year by the Arizona Association for Economic Development.

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