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Exploring Opportunities, Events for Business Start-Ups

Start-ups are new businesses that come from a person’s idea, drive, inspiration and courage. They are an engine for individual success, and they create new jobs and new products and services that enrich daily life. Start-ups, in many ways, embody the pioneer spirit of America. They are about stepping out into unknown territory and exploring. In honor of the courage these endeavors take, and the benefits they create, we recognize start-ups as a powerful force in the Flagstaff economy.

Moonshot@NACET is inspiring entrepreneurship in Flagstaff and beyond. Moonshot@NACET is delivering the right path at the right time to entrepreneurs who are ready to take the leap into dedicating their time to learning, growing and delivering solutions to challenges and opportunities great and small.

Moonshot@NACET is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that helps entrepreneurs from all walks of life in all sectors to grow and scale their businesses. Moonshot Pioneer Academy delivers four unique tracks for the person who knows his or her stuff and has a business idea, but needs help developing the path to market. The academy offers that person four separate tracks to advance the development of an idea. Track 1 is a 12-week exploration of solving a problem, which includes an ideation phase and concludes with proof of concept and a business plan, among other things. Track 2 guides clients to planning for launch of their business, which may take anywhere between six and 12 months. Tracks 3 and 4 take clients through moving to market and scaling for growth. As a reminder, the Moonshot Pioneer Academy is one of many resources and programs that Moonshot@NACET offers to individuals who are ready to expand their learning.

The number of entrepreneurs who have taken their learning and serving to new levels is growing; many went through programs at NACET, and some did not. W.L. Gore & Associates (gore.com/) has been developing advanced treatment options for complex conditions including heart defects, aortic aneurysms and peripheral artery disease. Poba Medical (pobamedical.com/) develops custom balloons to guide catheters and deliver pharmaceuticals through blood vessels. Axolotl Biologix (axobio.com/) develops regenerative technologies that improve patient outcomes with less pain and lower costs. There are literally hundreds more.

Moonshot@NACET takes entrepreneurship and communities at large to the next level through their LAUNCHPAD program. LAUNCHPAD helps cities build their entrepreneurial ecosystems. They do this in one year! LAUNCHPAD provides customized educational programs and events to communities including Chandler, Arizona, and Lewiston County in Washington state. Go to moonshotaz.com to learn about all of the offerings, which are too great in number to list here.

The City of Flagstaff is partnering with Moonshot@NACET for one weekend of entrepreneurial greatness by combining the Pioneer Pitch event and the Innovate Waste Challenge 2020. Both events will occur at the NACET Facility in Flagstaff in May. Between the two events, upwards of $20,000 in business development funds plus Amazon Web Services Credits and more will be awarded to the businesses with the best pitch. The Pioneer Pitch event is a competition for innovators with ideas in need of support and businesses that want to expand an existing idea.

The Innovate Waste Challenge 2020 is a competition for innovators who are looking to the landfill for inspiration. What does that mean? It means the City Economic Development offices and Sustainability are asking innovators to look at the waste stream going into the landfill and to divert and convert that material into a business product or process or both. By bringing both competitive pitch events together under one roof for one weekend, the community of humans gathering to learn how to do more for themselves and for others is guaranteed to celebrate greatness of being. Winners from last year include Drinking Horn Meadery (drinkinghornmeadery.com/), which is planning to expand into Downtown Flagstaff, and Praxis Plastics, which has grown into Praxis Waste Solutions (praxiswaste.com).

thrivephx is a weeklong start-up event in the Phoenix metro area dedicated to growing entrepreneurship. Between Feb. 17 and 22, events will occur in two Phoenix locations and one Tempe location providing informative workshops, inspirational speaker sessions and limitless networking opportunities, including many happy hours. With more than 50 sessions planned, many topics will be presented, including industry and functional tracks such as blockchain, emerging tech, sports, med-tech, real estate, e-commerce and much more. To learn more, visit phxstartupweek.com.

Entrepreneurship then may be seen as one of the greatest expressions of being. Embodying the greatest opportunities of our humanity to grow, to learn and to serve, entrepreneurship is more than just one startup week; it is a way of life, a way of being. Learn more about your opportunities to change the world for the better at moonshotaz.com. FBN

By John Saltonstall

John Saltonstall is the business retention and expansion manager for the City of Flagstaff.

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