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Amazon, NACET Collaboration Offering Businesses Digital Toolkit

Moonshot at NACET, the entrepreneur development program based at the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, is collaborating with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to make Flagstaff the first U.S. city to offer the AWS “CloudStart” program to startup businesses.

AWS CloudStart, originally designed to assist entire countries in accelerating digital economies, provides a suite of services new businesses can deploy to reduce costs, drive efficiencies and increase innovation, said Moonshot President & CEO Scott Hathcock. The cloud-based services include data storage, database management, analytics, machine learning, Internet access embedded into physical items (the “Internet of Things”), game development and more.

“This is a pioneering first step to bring this program to U.S. businesses,” said Hathcock, who likened the AWS cloud services to a library, where companies can “check out” and use services only as needed, without long-term contracts or huge financial commitments. “These enhanced tools, trainings and learning environments are being offered to Moonshot clients to help them quickly bring their ideas to the marketplace.”

As the first U.S.-based AWS CloudStart program collaborator, Moonshot has been awarded AWS Cloud credits that Moonshot member companies can receive to work with AWS Cloud tools and services that will enable them to scale their companies securely and cost-effectively.

“The City of Flagstaff is excited to see Moonshot at NACET collaborating with AWS,” said Heidi Hansen, economic vitality director for the City of Flagstaff. “Entrepreneurs not only have great facilities and staff support here, they will receive a digital toolkit to help further assist them in their work. Steps like this continue to make Flagstaff, Arizona a place to visit, discover and grow.” 

The AWS CloudStart program, however, goes beyond helping new enterprises. It is also a workforce development powerhouse, providing training and certification programs in cloud computing for individuals to meet the ever-increasing demand for these skilled workers.

“It addresses the old ‘chicken or egg’ dilemma in economic development,” Hathcock said. “Which comes first: attracting or building new businesses, or creating the workforce you need to sustain those businesses? With this collaboration, we can do both.”

Hathcock said Moonshot at NACET is currently working with community partners in Flagstaff and Coconino County to finalize a workforce development deployment model so that AWS CloudStart can be used by people throughout the region – from students at Northern Arizona University and Coconino Community College to underserved communities that typically do not have access to high-paying technology jobs.

“Coconino County strongly values the development of a youth talent pipeline as an asset that promotes community vitality and economic stability,” said Coconino County Career Center Director Carol Curtis. “We see the CloudStart program as an avenue to success for disconnected youth to become credentialed for high paying jobs right here in our communities.”

Hathcock noted that while the collaboration with AWS is focusing on the Northern Arizona region, entrepreneurs and startups not based in the area can also access the tools as long as they are qualifying members of Moonshot at NACET.

Hathcock credited Todd Davis, the founder of Hatch Innovation and a board member of Moonshot at NACET, with developing this partnership with Amazon Web Services. Davis will serve as the lead in helping companies and workforce development organizations access AWS services through AWS CloudStart. FBN

By Cindy May

To learn more about this collaboration, visit moonshotaz.com/awscloudstart.

Cindy May of Cindy May Marketing provides public relations services for NACET.

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