Arizona Technology Council Launches Corporate Connect Program Designed to Link Established Corporations and Technology Startups

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The Council’s Startup + Entrepreneurship Committee operates initiative to create quality jobs, improve innovation prominence and increase technology investment in Arizona

Established corporations often seek out collaborations with smaller, nimble organizations with fresh ideas to spur innovation within their own ranks. Conversely, startups and entrepreneurs look to larger companies to jumpstart their growth and provide hard-won insights. The Arizona Technology Council today launched its Corporate Connect program, designed to efficiently connect these two types of businesses in a targeted manner.

With no obligations, Corporate Connect is free of charge to both parties and applications are open now. Startups seeking to apply need to fill out a quick online form explaining their business, technology and stage of growth at Established companies should email corporateconnect(at) to express their interest.

“There has been a disconnect between early-stage innovation and later-stage commercialization in Arizona,” said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. “We designed the Corporate Connect program as a way to create interaction between large corporate partners and the startups, innovators and technology hubs where innovation is happening. These types of connections represent a very valuable, underutilized asset that can yield big results and serve to catalyze engagement within the ecosystem.”

Corporations obtain advantages such as a better informed technology and product strategy, including early-stage product development ideas and potential company acquisition or investment. They also increase their exposure in Arizona through various Arizona Technology Council events such as pitch contests and educational events.

During the beta stage of the program, corporate partners such as Intel, JDA Software and Honeywell participated in Corporate Connect.

“The startups we engaged with in the Corporate Connect program gave us a pulse on budding ideas and a sense of the diversity in the market so that we could attack problems occurring in areas adjacent to our space,” said Adeel Najmi, former Chief Science Officer at JDA Software. “In return, I was able to provide a bigger perspective of the broader market as well as insights into their specific challenges.”

Startups can access benefits such as corporate mentoring, investment, and technology development partnering. Additionally, successful partnering in Corporate Connect can give a startup increased business validation, including greater credibility when seeking early stage or venture capital investment.

This validation can be further supported by high-level introductions to vendors and funding sources using the Corporate Connect social network. Startups sometimes also gain strategic business advice through Corporate Connect, such as corporation advisement of a startup’s board of directors.

“By participating in Corporate Connect, Shelvspace obtained a view on how large companies in our space look at the market and how solutions fit together,” said Dave Albertson, CEO of Shelvspace. “We had very interesting conversations on how we fit in and we shared our point of view on where there were gaps. Strategic direction and validation are very beneficial to a startup. Finding someone to look at your business through a different lens is also extremely valuable.”

About the Arizona Technology Council
The Arizona Technology Council is Arizona’s premier trade association for science and technology companies. Recognized as having a diverse professional business community, Council members work towards furthering the advancement of technology in Arizona through leadership, education, legislation and social action. The Arizona Technology Council offers numerous events, educational forums and business conferences that bring together leaders, managers, employees and visionaries to make an impact on the technology industry. These interactions contribute to the Council’s culture of growing member businesses and transforming technology in Arizona. To become a member or to learn more about the Arizona Technology Council, please visit

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Linda Capcara
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Steven G. Zylstra