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University of Arizona hosts Canadian startups through international soft landings program

The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) welcomes two Canadian Startups to Southern Arizona through its Global Advantage Soft Landings program to explore international expansion opportunities into the United States. The two Canadian companies are Ecobloc which is based in St. Philip’s, Newfoundland, Canada and Longan Vision which is based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Ecobloc sustainably reduces inventory loss, operational downtime and biosecurity risk resulting from rodent destruction in the global food supply chain.

Longan Vision develops advanced augmented reality technology for use by first responders in dangerous environments to help save lives faster.

UACI is providing a “soft landing” experience which means the international businesses have the necessary accommodations for a smooth entry into the United States. UACI is working with the businesses to introduce them to local community leaders, connect them to governmental officials, inform them of the resources and tools available through the University of Arizona, and share the best sites and food available in Tucson, the UNESCO City of Gastronomy.

The exploratory business mission is part of UACI’s established international program that supports early-stage companies, called Global Advantage. This program utilizes its strategic location in Tucson, Arizona paired with relatively low business startup costs and highly accessible major market connections to the west and east coast. Global Advantage is comprised of partners that foster international business opportunities and include:

CAID Industries specializes in diversification and being a vertically integrated solutions for engineering, custom fabrication, pressure vessels, large scale manufacturing, factory automation, precision machining, extensive mine technologies and services.

Farhang & Medcoff Attorneys a prominent minority-owned, full-service law firm with locations in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona.

Cushman & Wakefield |PICOR an employee owned and founded commercial real estate business with properties in Southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.

Tech Parks Arizona creates the place, environment, and interactive ground that generates, attracts and retains technology companies in alignment with the research, mission, and goals of the University of Arizona. 

Tetakawi provides manufacturing and technology companies with turnkey solutions to establishing world-class manufacturing environments in Mexico.

Tucson Electric Power provides safe and reliable power to Tucson residents.

Startups that participate in UACI’s Global Advantage Soft-Landing program are working on scalable science and technology. These companies have made significant progress in their home countries and are prepared to make the necessary investment required to develop a presence in the United States.  

“The number and quality of the meetings we have had thus far have been fantastic!  I feel very certain that we will get new clients – in fact, we have verbal commitments already.  The commercial opportunities are far greater in southern Arizona than we realized.  Plus, Southern Arizona is a great gateway to the Mexican market. Additionally, we learned about opportunities to work with local companies regarding manufacturing our solution in Mexico.  The team at UA Tech Park and all the others in the regional ecosystem have been very friendly and willing to help in any way they can.  I couldn’t feel more welcomed.  Prior to arriving, Arizona was barely on our radar.  However, after spending time in-market I realize there is so much more potential than I initially realized.  I’m very thankful that EcoBloc was selected for the Soft Landings program,” shared Jason Trask CEO of Ecoblock.

“Longan Vision has been humbled and awed by the support and energy of UACI, Tucson and the Southern Arizonan community in supporting our startup and technology. Southern Arizona offers massive opportunities in terms of potential markets and resources to help build our future US operations. Based on our growth goals, the incredible business support received and the low cost of business operations, we intend on establishing a permanent location in Tucson. It just feels like Longan Vision’s new home.” Andrew Leaman, Manager of Commercial Operations, Longan Vision.

UACI has a proven track record in serving international startups, confirmed by their recent Soft Landings designation by International Business Innovation Association (InBIA). InBIA has only certified less than 20 Soft Landings designees due to the high-level and multi-faceted accommodations needed to ensure that international companies experience a supportive foundation when exploring doing business in a foreign country.  Tucson’s growing innovation ecosystem combined with its strategic location make Tucson the ideal entry point into the U.S. market for international companies and startups.


About the UA Center for Innovation

The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI) is a startup incubator network with outposts across the Southern Arizona region. For nearly two decades, the program has directly served over 200 companies and impacted thousands of entrepreneurs. This is done by providing access to people, programming, and places that help entrepreneurs take their companies from idea to market. Startups go through a structured program that takes them through a continuum of education provided by mentors, advisors, and community collaborators. UACI also provides access to service providers, industry cluster groups, interns, and connections to potential customers and strategic partners. Entrepreneurs utilize various physical spaces that include offices, wet and dry labs, meeting rooms, a prototyping center, collaboration areas, and the infrastructure to support these spaces. Tech Parks Arizona directs the UA Tech Park, the UA Tech Park at The Bridges and the University of Arizona Center for Innovation.


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