Valley nonprofit, Phoenix, ASU partner to create entrepreneurship program

A Valley nonprofit is partnering with the city of Phoenix and Arizona State University to spur entrepreneurship that will help solve challenges the city is facing.

The program is part of the Arizona Institute for Digital Progress, an organization that hopes to transform the Valley into a smart city through partnerships with local governments and technology companies.

The nonprofit is recruiting two entrepreneurs into its program called the Public Entrepreneur Development Academy. These entrepreneurs will work closely with city leaders, universities and tech companies to develop solutions to issues in the Phoenix area.

“The urban issues that the city is facing are more complex than ever. It’s really going to take a new way of tackling problems to help solve these issues,” said Dominic Papa, executive director and co-founder of iDP.

Papa added city management is working to identify specific issues that could be used for the program.

A group of five city leaders, tech company entrepreneurs and university professors will join the program, which will start July 10 and run through Sept. 6. The entrepreneurs recruited will attend a series of workshops taught by experts at Cisco and computer chipmaker Intel Corp. to teach skills and techniques they use to drive innovation at their companies.

“They will be learning the skills and putting those skills to practice on a real issue that the city of Phoenix is trying to solve,” Papa said.

The program is modeled after one in Colorado between the city of Denver and the University of Colorado, Boulder. The university also offers a class that will enlist graduate students’ help to solve national security problems for the Department of Defense, according to the Denver Post. The program takes a page from the playbook of tech startups to fuel innovation.

“We are hoping the city will get a smart new innovative policy to address the problem (the city of Phoenix) is trying to solve,” Papa said.

At the end of the program, city leaders and entrepreneurs will pitch ideas to help solve some city issues. The event will be hosted at Galvanize in downtown Phoenix on Sept. 23. Phoenix will choose the best idea and apply it as a policy.

“If it proves to be successful, we hope to expand to other regions in the Valley,” Papa said about the program’s goal to partner with other city governments in the future.

 

Article source: Phoenix Business Journal

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