Without Borders

by Don Rodriguez

US-MexicoIn the world of startups, striving to be the best is a given. But that can be easier said than done when first launching. Thanks to a new agreement signed in Mexico City, startups will get the chance to benefit from best practices, no matter on which side of the border they were born.

Leaders of the Arizona Technology Council, the Arizona Business Incubation Association (AZBIA) and Startup Mexico (SUM) signed a cooperation agreement crafted to bolster the economic diversity of the region by cultivating knowledge-based businesses. Besides sharing best practices, they all committed to ensuring investment opportunities and incubators are rendered accessible to new markets.

“Tech startups and other knowledge-based businesses are crucial drivers of economic growth because they provide the high-paying, high-skill jobs that improve the communities around them,” says Steven G. Zylstra, the Council’s president and CEO. “By joining forces with the Arizona Business Association and Startup Mexico, the Council will ensure that the Southwest’s robust technology ecosystem grows and becomes even more interconnected.”

The beneficiaries will be innovators and technology entrepreneurs across Arizona and Mexico. Under the pact, each group also will help facilitate contact between startups and angel investors and other financing opportunities across their markets. The agreement also allows Mexican startups to benefit from incubation programs in Arizona and vice versa. All three organizations have committed to advocate for local startup competitions allowing participants from other markets.

‘Entrepreneurship Wins’

“Whenever the number of funding opportunities goes up, entrepreneurship wins,” says Thomas Rainey, president of the Arizona Business Incubation Association. “This agreement means that more investors will be introduced to more promising startups, accelerating economic growth and job creation.”

“Cooperation between Arizona and Mexico pays great dividends,” says Marcus Dantus, CEO of Startup Mexico. “Over 7,500 Arizona companies export goods, and Mexico accounts for 40 percent of Arizona’s exports. By cross-pollinating Arizona and Mexico’s incubation ecosystem, we can ensure that our mutually beneficial economic growth continues.”

AZBIA is a trade association promoting collaboration and best practices among incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces. Its member organizations represent business, research and education, economic development, government, and other professions involved in supporting entrepreneurs.

Startup Mexico brings together entrepreneurs and private sector experts to develop or improve products and services. As Mexico City’s first innovation campus, it is home to an ecosystem that molds ideas into high-impact businesses. Entrepreneurs, financiers and business consultants collaborate in SUM’s six-month incubation program.

Zylstra also joined Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and other Arizona mayors in Mexico City as they explored the opportunities of trade between Arizona and Mexico. Phoenix has been a leader in educating businesses about global export opportunities, and exports have increased year over year. Stanton took this reputation to a new level during the trip when he and Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera signed a memorandum of understanding creating a Global Cities Economic Partnership between the two cities.

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