University of Arizona Center for Innovation: A Powerful Collection of Startup Experts

By Romi Carrell Wittman

The University of Arizona Center for Innovation has assembled a team of world-class business experts. UACI offers its tech startups access to mentors-in-residence, subject matter experts, program staff, and a network of community partners, which are essential for the success of each startup. Entrepreneurs meet with the team on a regular cadence to work through the incubator program. The frequency of those conversations varies depending on the entrepreneurs’ needs. 

Mentors-in-Residence – UACI’s mentors-in-residence are experienced business professionals who connect with startup founders to guide them through the challenging process of building and scaling a successful startup. Mentors-in-residence offer guidance on everything from market research and product development to fundraising and sales strategies, helping entrepreneurs navigate the many challenges of starting and growing a business. They act as a primary guide for entrepreneurs moving their way through the UACI program.

The mentors-in-residence are a significant part of the UACI team, helping companies pull everything together for fast and effective growth. 

Subject-Matter Experts – In addition to the mentors-in-residence, UACI entrepreneurs also have access to subject-matter experts who provide advanced expertise in a variety of fields. 

To enhance UACI’s offerings, subject-matter experts are part of the robust team. They specialize in core business areas like accounting and finance, marketing and branding, team and board development, and federal contract management. These experts help with the functional aspects of developing a company through their deep understanding of the business process and marketplace.

Program Team – A diverse team manages all aspects of the programing and operations of UACI which includes an executive director, director, assistant director, program manager, and client services coordinator. This lineup of experienced professionals offers direct support to startups by facilitating connections, supporting startups as they secure funding and developing entrepreneurial education workshops.

Furthermore, the parent organization, Tech Parks Arizona, manages communications, marketing, finance, IT and facility operations. The integration of the organizations’ expertise ensures a streamlined approach that has resulted in significant strategic growth.

“Connecting UACI startups directly to a robust network of people with a wide range of background, insight and expertise, is helping startup founders accelerate the growth and success of their companies,” said UACI Director Anita Bell. She has worked for UACI since it was established in 2003 and has been instrumental in building and expanding key collaborations and network relationships for two decades.

The UACI team pictured above from left – Back row, Amanda Buchanan, Sonia Vohnout, Iselda Mendez, Eric Smith, Steve Wood, Carol Stewart Front row, Casey Carrillo, Devon Underwood, Anita Bell – Not pictured: Susan Garber, Shefali Patel, Jody Yarbrough


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