Small Business and Economic Development


The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship is committed to making social impact through economic development.

The McGuire Economic Development Program is focused on job creation by delivering entrepreneurship and business training to business owners in Southern Arizona. In addition, the Economic Development program has a course at Eller College of Management where students work on business consulting projects with local business owners to improve their managerial skills and grow their businesses–revenues, profits and number of employees.


Economic Development, together with local businesses, strives to create jobs by delivering entrepreneurship training to business owners.

The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship is committed to helping small business owners start or develop their businesses.

The goals of the Economic Development programs are to:

  • Grow small businesses in Southern Arizona
  • Connect students with small business professionals through mentoring programs
  • Help business owners improve their managerial skills
  • Create jobs in Southern Arizona

Future Vision

Economic Development will help make the Southern Arizona economy more sustainable for all.

Over the next few years and with increased funding, we would like to add more services. We plan to expand the Business Certificate Program classes to nearby locations, such as Nogales and Casa Grande, which can be served in person. We would also like to pilot online classes for distant locations such as Yuma and Sierra Vista. In addition, we have had many requests for additional classes in topics such as social media, website effectiveness and market research. Eller’s McKeever Lab is a perfect setting for classes using Internet-based resources, and Eller’s faculty are knowledgeable and skilled educators.

We would also like to offer a new set of smaller classes (up to ten) devoted to developing business plans that would not only be appropriate information for lenders, but also help the business owner set business and learning goals related to developing their organizations. Other local organizations provide assistance with business plans but the classes and plans are solely focused on financing whereas we would focus on plans that can be altered in a very flexible manner to meet the dynamic changes in the business landscape.

Student Experience

Business Certificate Success

In August 2014, the EED Business Certificate Program (BCP) provided six classes (three hours each) at the YWCA’s Frances McClelland Leadership Center YWCA with 117 participants. Compared to 67 participants last year, this was an increase of 75 percent. Eller professors taught Management, Marketing, Sales, Accounting and Legal Issues and Contracts with a panel session by local successful business owners. Evaluations were high with an average rating of 5.93 for “improved my skills” (where 6 is highest), 5.95 for “helped define my goals,” and 5.98 for overall experience. Ninety-five participants responded to this survey.

In spring 2015, the BCP was presented at the YWCA in Spanish to 108 participants, a slight increase from 102 participants in 2014. Participant evaluations from 102 participants were as follows: an average of 5.98 for “improved my skills,” 5.94 for “helped me define my goals” and 5.94 for overall experience.

Learn about the Small Business Certificate Program

Business Consulting Success 

Eller College student Alex discusses his positive experience in BNAD 445 Small Business Consulting, which works with the Eller Economic Development program to assist small, often minority-owned businesses in Southern Arizona.