Jump to main content.

A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
OIE Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Arizona State University


Tempe, AZ

Project Name

Resource Innovation and Solutions Network Incubator Implementation Project



Award Amount


Phoenix, the 6th largest city in the country, is emerging in the new economy with strength in high technology, manufacturing, bioscience research and advanced business services. The vibrant local economy is attracting regional growth and the diverse population of the Phoenix metro area is likely to double by 2050. This trajectory suggests that the continuing increase in population, consumption and wealth will result in a decrease in finite resources. As the Phoenix metro area landfills nearly 6 million tons of material annually, the regional benefit of this project will contribute to the efforts of diverting waste from the landfill by creating new economic development opportunities and transforming waste into resources.

Arizona State University, the city of Phoenix, and their many collaborators across corporate, nonprofit, government, and education sectors aim to design, develop, and implement a Circular Economy Regional Innovation Strategy (RIS) that will address the Phoenix area’s solid waste challenges and economic development opportunities. Specifically, this project will implement the missing component of this regional strategy: a globally unique circular economy incubator focused on innovation and solutions to resource efficiency and effectiveness challenges. The incubator will build on the extensive entrepreneurial ecosystem that has purposefully emerged in the Phoenix metropolitan area over the past decade. It will launch circular economy entrepreneurs and ventures that will take advantage of new opportunities in the circular economy space, creating new ventures, jobs, and economic growth driven by innovation and entrepreneurship.

The primary impact of the program will be to drive local innovation, support economic development, create next economy jobs and divert landfill waste toward a circular economy. The RISN Incubator will focus on accelerating the development of circular economy ventures throughout the Maricopa and Pinal County region, including waste-to-resources and waste-to-energy companies. New and emerging circular economy ventures will develop sustainable and renewable technologies in the energy, water, transportation, built environment, and food sectors, among others to help create value and economic development opportunities from solid waste streams.