Written By Amanda Mollindo


It’s been an exciting year for CEI. With a host of new programs and plenty of incoming clients to keep our staff busy, it can be hard to stay on top of all the new faces that come through our doors. However, the guest we’ve had over the last two months left a lasting impression.

Starting in October, we had the pleasure of hosting FOUR international groups, with individuals whose occupations ranged from entrepreneur to investor. With so much activity week after week, we wanted to give you a glimpse at how these events went. Keep reading for photos and recaps about the time spent with our new friends!

Global Ties Arizona


October 5, 2018 — Have you heard of Global Ties Arizona? Global Ties is a council based out of Scottsdale that focuses on building relationships through international exchange and educational programs. They host visitors from around the world from the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), and we were honored that they chose CEI as a destination during their recent Entrepreneurship and Strategic Innovation tour.

Participants came from all over Europe to learn about how U.S. cities foster innovation and creativity. To give our visitors a taste of entrepreneurship in the U.S., we invited several of our residents to pitch before the group. With many clients coming to us with scientific and academic research backgrounds, we were able to share how our incubator supports the pipeline of technology from the lab to the marketplace.

YTILI Fellows Visit & Pitch Competition

October 15 – 19, 2018 — After the program’s first visit to Phoenix last year, the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI) has become an annual highlight for CEI. YTILI is an exchange program run by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, where entrepreneurs from across Europe come to several American cities. Phoenix’s 2018 group got to call CO+HOOTS home-base for the week, while participants travelled around the city to meet with local founders, advisors, and business professionals.

Sticking to tradition, we invited them to our annual fall Chili Cook Off and hosted a short pitch competition for our seven visitors, complete with an all-star cast of judges! Keep reading to find out more about these ambitious startup founders!



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Lorik Mullaademi, Co-Founder of Sogody

Sogody is a tech agency that specializes in app development and digital marketing.

Country: Kosovo

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Miha Rajh, CEO of PharSol

PharSol helps biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical companies with innovative approaches to distribution and manufacturing.

Country: Slovenia

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Dasha Runic, Director and Founder of The Social Formula

The Social Formula is a creative agency that offers SEO, digital advertising, design, copywriting, and social media services.

Country: Serbia

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Keti Gjipali, General Manager of AGOG Marketing

AGOG Marketing helps organizations in different industries communicate their brand image and improve revenue through the implementation of creative marketing tactics.

Country: Albania

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Stefano Santarelli, Business Designer of MYSPOT

MYSPOT is a smart-working platform that allows remote companies and employees to identify, book and access the best place for any kind of work activities.

Country: Italy

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Elina Naydenova, CEO of Feebris

Feebris is a health innovation company developing an AI-driven digital health platform for community-based diagnostics and monitoring.

Country: United Kingdom

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Olga Royenko, CEO of Royenko Marketing Agency

Royenko Marketing Agency helps small and medium businesses and startups launch marketing functions in-house to help entrepreneurs become independent from marketing agencies.

Country: Ukraine

YTILI Fellows with their pitch competition judges (left to right): Mike Simons, Romi Dhillon, Stefano Santarelli, Jenny Poon, Olga Royenko, Lorik Mullaademi, Tom Schumann, Keti Gjipali, Miha Rajh, Dasha Runic, Russ Yelton, and Elina Naydenova.

YTILI Fellows with their pitch competition judges (left to right): Mike Simons, Romi Dhillon, Stefano Santarelli, Jenny Poon, Olga Royenko, Lorik Mullaademi, Tom Schumann, Keti Gjipali, Miha Rajh, Dasha Runic, Russ Yelton, and Elina Naydenova.

Innovation Map Investor Pitches

November 9, 2018 — Innovation Map is a subsidiary of Haiyin Capital that offers educational media, training, and industrial coordination services. With over 100,000 entrepreneurs, investors, and researchers at home and abroad, this initiative is able to explore the world’s most cutting-edge scientific and technological innovation practices. As a part of their programming, they organize tours to U.S. universities, incubators, chambers, and tech startups to hear pitches from businesses with emerging technologies. During their visit to Phoenix, over 20 Chinese Business Leaders and venture capitalists joined us at CEI to watch seven of our clients pitch their business!


Irish Delegation Tour

November 16, 2018 — The last group that joined us this fall came all the way from Ireland. Organized by the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation, we were excited to welcome a number of Irish civic leaders and economic development professionals to the Center. With less focus on CEI’s clients this time around, we had the opportunity to have a conversation about why we’re passionate about supporting entrepreneurship in Phoenix. Our staff had a great time connecting with this group and showing off our facility during their visit!



With a mission focused on creating jobs in our state, you might be wondering why we value building international relationships here at CEI. Well, we think our client, David Richardson and CEO of bioSyntagma, says it best:

“We’re not just an Arizona company, we’re going to make an impact all over the world. But we stay here because this is where our roots are.”

We believe each and every single entrepreneur who is accepted into CEI’s incubator program has the potential to make a huge difference in their industry — at the state, national, or even international level — and we want to make sure they have access to connections abroad if they choose to go global. That’s why we jump on any opportunity to build relationships all over the world; whether that’s sending our Executive Director off to Lisbon and Berlin to mentor European entrepreneurs, or spending the morning in our conference room with foreign delegates to show them how Arizona fosters innovation.

Want to see CEI for yourself? Take a tour!

Whether you’re traveling from near or far, we’re always happy to show you around the Center. If you, your startup, or your organization is interested in discovering why people are traveling overseas to check our our little corner of Arizona, then schedule a tour today!

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