U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Highlights Department’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Agenda at ASU Skysong

Pritzker SkySong 3

From the U.S. Department of Commerce

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today toured SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, and met with local entrepreneurs. SkySong is a mixed use development designed to help companies grow by providing business services and programs offered or facilitated by Arizona State University, which include access to new technologies, capital networks, and a skilled workforce. In her role as chair of the President’s Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE) initiative, Secretary Pritzker is focused on identifying successful ecosystems that support innovation and competitiveness, like SkySong, which can be replicated around the country.

Earlier this month, Secretary Pritzker announced the inaugural members of the PAGE initiative, a group of successful American businesspeople who have committed to sharing their time, energy, ideas, and  experience to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. Members have agreed to participate in an ongoing dialogue with policy makers globally to discuss how to create an environment where creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship can grow and thrive. They will also participate in outreach and mentorship activities to help promote start-up culture, and energize their own personal and professional networks to challenge and inspire budding entrepreneurs and raise awareness of the many resources available to them. A list of the inaugural members of PAGE is available here.

“America’s entrepreneurial spirit has always been a key driver of our economic growth, and SkySong is a terrific example of a place where innovators and entrepreneurs can access the tools they need to thrive,” said Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “It is a place where an individual can turn his or her idea into a product, put together a business plan, access capital, and ultimately create a company that will employ people. This is the type of environment we are seeking to identify and replicate all over the country.”

Research indicates that new and young companies are responsible for virtually all new job growth across the United States. Not only do they create positions for those entering the job market for the first time, but they also absorb workers who may have been laid off from companies that are contracting.

In meeting and conversing with SkySong’s entrepreneurs, Secretary Pritzker discussed the opportunities and challenges they are facing, and the ways in which the federal government can serve as a catalyst to innovation. The Department of Commerce, for example, supports innovation and entrepreneurship through its Patent and Trademark Office, and through investments made by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) that often help fund innovation centers like SkySong. In fact, EDA helped create SkySong’s technology transfer accelerator, known as Furnace, in 2012. The inaugural members of PAGE, in particular, are focused on ways they can use their ideas, experience, and networks to help improve access to capital and talent, and help inspire aspiring entrepreneurs to seize the opportunity to start their own venture.

Through meetings with entrepreneurs across the country who are supported by innovation centers like SkySong, Secretary Pritzker is witnessing first-hand the type of successful programs that can be repeated nationwide to spur growth. SkySong-based companies, which range from start-ups to large companies like Ticketmaster and Recruiting.com, have generated more than $460 million in economic impact for the Greater Phoenix area since SkySong’s inception in 2008, according to a 2012 study by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

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