McGuire Innovation Expo Showcases Tucson's Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
Feb. 23, 2018
University of Arizona’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its second McGuire Innovation Expo 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 22 on the UA Mall by the student union. The trade show included 21 booths showcasing cross-disciplinary student startup teams from the McGuire New Venture Development Program as well as 26 booths representing UA and community educational programs, local entrepreneurship resources, and new ventures. The event was free and open to the pubic, and hundreds of students and community members attended.
"This year’s Innovation Expo builds upon last year’s success,” said McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship Director Remy Arteaga. “From the creative projects of our new venture development students to several exciting Tucson start-ups as well as those providing world-class education programs and innovation services—there was something for everyone at this year’s expo."
This year's expo was substantially larger than last year's, and included several new organizations that provide services for entrepreneurs and small business owners. For a full list of exhibitors, please visit the McGuire Innovation Expo 2018 event page.
"The McGuire Innovation Expo was the perfect opportunity for the Pima County Public Library's Idea+Space to meet with our target audience of current and future entrepreneurs who were looking for assistance with their startup or expansion growth," said Kassy Rodeheaver, Business Librarian II at Pima County Public Library. "We had great conversations with students about our services and programs and made quite a few connections with people from other entrepreneurial-focused organizations who were also there. I'm very glad that we were able to participate, and we'll definitely aim to come back next year."
The student startups participating at the event all come from the McGuire New Venture Development Program, where they have spent six months receiving intensive experiential education that engages them in the process of moving innovation from an early-stage idea to a sustainable launch-ready venture. The Innovation Expo was an opportunity for many to present their ventures to the public for the first time. In addition to unveiling their ventures, the student teams were competing for four awards.
McGuire Center Adjunct Lecturers John J. Jackson and Greg Watson were the judges for the Booth Appeal Award and the Communication & Fluency Award. Both awards came with a $250 prize. The Booth Appeal Award went to Kratr Technologies, driving software empowered community engagement for the 21st century. Info, events, and notifications to residents with one tap.
The Communication & Fluency Award went to Genesence offers DNA testing for health-related genes, empowering you to take informed steps to a healthier you.
Microsoft, the McGuire Center’s social innovation sponsor, participated as an exhibitor and offered a Social Impact Award with a $250 prize. The Social Impact Award was judged by Mike Miles, Microsoft General Manager of Datacenter Community and Workforce Development, and Cindi Gilliland, Professor of Practice in Management and Organizations and Director of Eller Social Innovation. The judges evaluated the teams based on how well they incorporated corporate social responsibility strategies into their ventures, and how well they explained their company’s community and stakeholder impact. The winner, Ecocrete, creates construction materials comprised of recycled byproducts that are safe, cost-effective and ecofriendly.
"We selected Ecocrete as the Social Impact Award winner because the team presented good economics, a clear positive environmental impact, and a superior product - and they had a really good pitch," said Miles.
Finally, the Innovation Expo had an Investors' Choice Award this year, which engaged expo visitors in the voting process. Students and community members who checked in at the McGuire Center Welcome Booth received five million "McGuire Bucks" that they could distribute to teams they wanted to support. Around 500 people participated in the voting.
The winner of the $500 Investors' Choice Award by more than 100 votes was Algoe Chemicals, which will provide chemical manufacturers with a reducing agent to drive stronger, better reactions.
The 2018 McGuire Innovation Expo was sponsored by Microsoft.
Diamond Ventures, Jack Furrier's Western Tire & Auto Care and Skylight Depot also provided support for the event.
For a list of exhibitors and more information, please visit McGuire Innovation Expo 2018.