The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation

We help startups get to market and companies build their talent.

The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI) was created by GateWay Community College and the Maricopa County Community College District to provide incubation space for bioscience entrepreneurs in Phoenix. Since 2013, our incubator has supported over 75 startups who have created 872 jobs, secured $135 million in capital, and generated more than $177 million in total gross revenue.

From the start, CEI has been a place for innovators to learn, grow, and refine their ideas without ever losing sight of the big picture: to get life-changing products to market. Not only do we help them commercialize and scale, we offer a community that fosters their passion for entrepreneurship so they can weather the ups and downs of launching a business. 

Like the people we serve, we believe in developing meaningful solutions to real problems — that’s why CEI continues to grow and evolve. With the opening of CEI LabForce in Downtown Phoenix in 2021, we will have the capacity to support even more entrepreneurs and businesses with entrepreneurial programming, workforce development training, virtual and in-person events, and more.

As The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation adapts to support innovators facing new challenges, our goal will always remain the same: to create high quality jobs in our community, and make sure our workforce is prepared to take on those roles.


To help innovators and businesses of all sizes succeed by delivering exceptional entrepreneurial, educational, and workforce development resources.


To foster a culture of regional innovation where community members, entrepreneurs, and companies are empowered to solve today’s biggest problems.

Awards & Recognition

Our Values

We Prioritize Collaboration

We believe that great ideas are best nurtured in an environment where people with different backgrounds, perspectives, and areas of expertise can work side by side. At every level of business — from startup support to workforce development — the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation encourages, enables and practices collaboration. By being team-oriented and community-centered, we strive to help everyone we work with get further, faster.

We Act with Integrity

We believe in delivering the highest quality support, resources, and programming possible to everyone we serve. We aim for transparency in all aspects of our work, and take the feedback we receive — both internally and externally — to heart. By setting a standard of open and honest communication with those in our community, we are able to reflect, iterate, and improve our services in the pursuit of excellence.

We Strive for Growth

Advances in science, technology and business are nonstop, and it’s crucial that CEI keeps up. With each year since opening, we have committed to growth in big and small ways. By staying flexible and receptive to new ideas, we are able to evolve to best support our clients, partners and community.

Our Team

Tom Schumann
Executive Director

Patti DuBois
Assistant Executive Director

Ann Marie Rucker
CEI Program Coordinator

Johnna Vande Vegte
CEI LabForce Project Coordinator

Alexis Kahe
Digital Marketing Coordinator

Rachel Miller
CEI LabForce Lab Technician

Raquel DePaula
Connect Labs

Industry Experts

Russ Yelton
Workforce Development Consultant

Cindy Kjos
Project Manager

Phil Camillo
Learning Management Systems Director

Executive Leadership

Dr. Steven R. Gonzales
Maricopa Community Colleges

Dr. Amy Diaz
GateWay Community College

Kristin Gubser
Interim Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness and Workforce Strategies
GateWay Community College

CEI is proud to be a division of GateWay Community College, a Maricopa Community College

GateWay Community College has built a legacy of innovation, pioneering vision and responsiveness to the needs of our community: the first technical college in Arizona; first to use community advisory committees; first to tailor courses to the needs of business and industry; first to offer classes at off-campus locations; even the first to install a computer. From a humble beginning in the former Korrick’s Department Store downtown, Maricopa Technical College has flourished for 50 years into today’s GateWay.

Another first for GateWay Community College is the integration of its Maricopa Skill Center division and alignment of the SouthWest Skill Center under the college, so now all clock programs are under one college. Now the college has three campuses and two extension sites.

Together, the college offers more than 160 degree, certificate, as well as trade, technical and workforce training options to fit your life, your budget and your goals for the future. It’s no coincidence our motto is, “Education that works, so you learn more, live better.”

The Maricopa County Community College District includes ten regionally-accredited colleges – Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale, and South Mountain – and the Maricopa Corporate College, serving more than 200,000 students with two-year degrees, certificates, and university transfer programs.

Maricopa Community Colleges is committed to providing quality, accessible education to as many members of the community as possible.

Partnerships That Empower the Community

As the largest workforce educator in Arizona, MCCCD is committed to the economic development of the state and local communities, and Maricopa serves the government and business institutions in the Phoenix metro area, Maricopa County, and Arizona. Its Workforce Development department creates initiatives to provide skilled individuals who are workforce-ready and who add to the economic wellness of Phoenix businesses. Additionally, the entire Maricopa Community Colleges system is one of the largest employers in the Phoenix area further contributing to economic prosperity in our communities.