In a joint effort to promote the growth of Arizona’s optics industry, Arizona Technology Council member Strategy1 today announced it has been awarded a Small Business Association (SBA) contract. The contract includes $500,000 in 2019 as the base year and four additional option years. In addition to the Council, key program partners include Pima Community College, The University of Arizona Tech Launch Arizona and Tech Parks Arizona.
In 2016, the Council signed a collaborative agreement with the Arizona Optics Industry Association to create the Optics Valley Committee. Optics Valley is an industry cluster with a mission to catalyze, convene and connect optics, photonics, astronomy and supporting businesses throughout Arizona.
“This SBA contract provides a huge boost to our ability to recruit members and grow the Optics Valley Committee’s program services and influence,” said John Dennis, president and co-founder, Strategy1, and co-chairman of Optics Valley. “Our goal is to position Optics Valley as the leading organization for galvanizing optics innovation and talent, and to provide a central network for established optics leaders.”
Core initiatives outlined by the Optics Valley committee include:
- Facilitating the growth of existing optics companies with proactive workforce development, direct mentoring and coaching, and innovative professional programs.
- Promoting the formation and development of new entrepreneurial companies for optics and photonics technologies and applications by supporting existing incubator programs, applying focused assessments and education.
- Enhancing the visibility of the optics industry as a critical enabling technology for the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” through active community marketing program and participation in key industry conferences and trade shows.
“We are dedicated to making the Optics Valley Committee the centerpiece of an integrated, mutually supportive ecosystem that includes academics, optics companies and support services,” said Steven G. Zylstra, the Council’s president and CEO. “The SBA contract will provide the additional resources needed to achieve our goal of making the Arizona optics industry a recognized world leader in the innovation economy.”
Additional support for technology creation and invention will come from The University of Arizona, especially its College of Optical Sciences, BIO5 Institute and Steward Observatory. Networking and community support will come from a wide variety of organizations, including the Arizona Commerce Authority, Small Business Development Corporation, Startup Tucson, Southern Arizona Leadership Conference and the Tucson Metro Chamber.
For questions or to learn more about the Council’s Optic Valley Committee, please visit www.OpticsValleyAZ.org.