The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation began in 2006 with a commitment - a deep-rooted desire to address a regional issue with an innovative solution. For the leadership team of the Maricopa Corporate College and the Maricopa County Community College District along with the City of Phoenix and the Economic Development Administration, it was the need to assist bioscience companies in Phoenix by providing rentable research space. Yet the opportunity was there to create something that would generate a lasting economic impact for the city.
And so the idea grew.
By 2009, those three partners had committed $6 million (along with a corporate donation from Blue Cross/Blue Shield) to build a business incubator on the campus of GateWay Community College and develop it into an even more diverse and expanded space for startups and entrepreneurs in the biosciences, renewable energy, and technology services and software industries. With technologically-advanced infrastructure and targeted business development resources, it would help grow new companies, market new technologies and, ultimately, contribute to the economic vitality of Phoenix through small business job creation.
Construction wrapped up on the facility in early 2013, and CEI held its formal grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on March 7, 2013, showcasing an impressive group of initial client companies which it had spent the previous year recruiting and subsequently incubating.
It was only fitting that, during the ceremony, many of the same leaders who had pledged their initial commitment nearly seven years prior came together and spoke about the long-term vision: CEI as the center of a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that plants the seeds of small business growth and transforms the local economy.