MaryAnn Guerra, BioAccel

Powering Startups

from MaryAnn Guerra

MaryAnn-GuerraArizona has been recognized by Fast Company as the top state for entrepreneurial activity. And small business is a significant economic driver for our state, as it is for the country as a whole, powered in large part by technology.

Technology development is moving at great speed, emanating from many diverse sources and a variety of fields of study. The problem is not in innovation. We’re great at that. The problem is in translation, and having a local ecosystem to support a vibrant startup community. The Kaufman Foundation and The Center for Advancing Innovation surveyed 145 research institutions across the U.S. and determined that the ability to commercialize only 6 percent more federally funded research discoveries could have a $1.4 trillion to $3 trillion impact on the national GDP. The ability to identify, cultivate and commercialize the right concept, at the right time and in the most efficient manner is becoming increasing more important to both our local and national economy. Entrepreneurs need to partner with industry and customers to marry market needs with novel technology solutions.

The more efficiently this integration of market need, innovation and investment occurs, the better-positioned industry becomes to accelerate the time it takes for new products to reach the market. Incubators and accelerators play an important role in working with entrepreneurs to help cultivate and accelerate the launch of new ideas and companies. Startup companies generate jobs for our community. Since the recession, from mid-2009 to 2011, small business accounted for 67 percent (up from 64 percent) of net new jobs. As we say at BioAccel, helping entrepreneurs reach their potential helps Arizona reach its potential. With major changes facing us in the healthcare industry, a drive for wellness, coupled with opportunities for innovation, provides a solid platform to create positive economic impact.

The cover story delves further into the questions: Who is helping the startups, and why? What difference does that startup activity have, ultimately, on the overall economy? And what is the return to that accelerator or incubator enterprise for its investment? To explore this — as well as the difference between the two types of startup hubs — In Business Magazine editor RaeAnne Marsh spoke with founders and executives of some of the leading private and public accelerators and incubators.

Trends in entrepreneurship and tips for success, from thought leaders Jenny Q. Ta and Neal Thornberry, Ph.D., respectively, comprise the Enterprise feature. And Joel D. Levitt shares insights on common obstructions that interfere with the best-laid plans for making meetings a productive use of time — and offers a simple solution for the executive in charge.

Technology, healthcare and new business are among other subjects that fill these pages with articles focused on helping build business here in the Valley of the Sun. I hope you find the information of value. It’s my pleasure to help bring you this March issue of In Business Magazine. Enjoy!

Sincerely,

MaryAnn Guerra
Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
BioAccel

MaryAnn Guerra is chairman of the board, CEO and co-founder of BioAccel. She is known for creating novel programs to accelerate the transfer of technology from the lab into new business opportunities, and has spent much of her career operating successful health, science and technology businesses. Since the launch of BioAccel in April 2009, 12 companies have been successfully launched with products close to commercial availability. Additionally, BioAccel partnered with the City of Peoria to create BioInspire, the first medical device accelerator in Arizona.

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