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ucson has been a melting pot, taking in folks from the mid-west, California, and Mexico. What brings them here? Historically, the community was built around agriculture and mining – the impetus for founding the University of Arizona (@UArizona). Davis Monthan Air Force Base (DMAFB) has also invigorated the aerospace and defense industry and related manufacturing (and engineering support) businesses.
Over time, many people moved here to retire and seek out warmer weather that has obvious benefits to their age and health. And since sunshine is in plentiful supply, in time, sustainability initiatives and alternative energy companies doubled down and were drawn to the Southwest.
Today, younger generations (including millennials) are looking for lower cost of living, cheaper rent, and a place to raise their family. With COVID-19 pressures, remote working is becoming more accepted and getting paid an out-of-state salary is not just an interest that employees have. Companies are equally “cashing in” on opportunities in Tucson real estate and are gaining access to the University of Arizona’s talent pool, especially with low commercial costs and geographically adjusted salaries for remote employees.
But what does this have to do with tech?
Arizona is increasing in rankings for entrepreneurial activity, and in some cases, has been ranked as 1st in the country. It was also rated 5th Best Cities for Entrepreneurs in the US.
Tech companies appreciate the low income taxes, top quality work force (and availability), and top ten access to global trade. As of 2018, Tucson maintained 15,700 jobs in tech, aggregating over $90,000 in wages.
With the University of Arizona generating the 20th largest expenditure on R&D among US universities, it makes sense that it is also investing in large science and technology parks like Tech Parks Arizona. Businesses in the tech park are contributing roughly $2 billion annually to the regional economy.
Not only are companies benefitting from the brilliant innovation on campus, but investors (angels and venture capitalists alike) are finally noticing that they can have first access to some of the best – untouched – intellectual property opportunities in the world. And with names like Facebook and Microsoft floating around, even corporate venture teams have already started to dig in and sort through.