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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
Funding Opportunities Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Location

Phoenix, Arizona

Project Name

Greater Phoenix Seed Fund Feasibility Study

Program

Seed Fund Support Grant (formerly known as Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds)

Award Amount

$221,467

Matching Amount

$293,736

With more than 3,000 manufacturers responsible for 120,000 jobs, Greater Phoenix is one of the largest centers of manufacturing in the U.S.  The region’s manufacturing is concentrated in high-tech sectors such as electronics, semiconductors, and precision instruments and these technologies have applications across a wide array of industries.  However, firms in the Greater Phoenix region are over-weight in mature product segments, where margins and competitive advantages are eroding.  As a result, while the manufacturing industries provide an important and high-wage employment base, as currently configured, their prospects for future growth are modest, and they are in danger of being eclipsed by competing enterprises in other regions.  The technology-driven sectors of the Greater Phoenix economy need an infusion of innovative capabilities to enter new product segments and markets and to create a new basis for competitive advantage.  The region must leverage startups and entrepreneurs that play a transformative role in the new economy.

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council will explore the feasibility of a seed capital fund that supports early-stage companies in advanced manufacturing and related industries.  The fund will support companies innovating in the following areas: (1) products with cross-industry applications such as sensors; (2) new manufacturing process innovation and technologies; and (3) data analytics, management and security applications for manufacturing.  The third category is especially relevant as manufacturers are increasingly dependent on data systems and data analytics to dramatically improve and optimize complex production processes.  In certain products such as sensors for biomedical applications, data analytics and data security are critical components of the value proposition.  By initially focusing on these three areas, the fund will address and accelerate the transformation currently underway in the Greater Phoenix’s manufacturing sector.

The fund will connect entrepreneurs with existing capacity and resources within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  By leveraging the expertise of the core team members and other stakeholders, the fund will help startups advance quickly into the next phase of growth and value.