Local Entrepreneurs Find New Landing Spot in the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation at GateWay Community College

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Voltmarc Technology, Inc. and Arbsource examples of homegrown companies developing niche technologies at Phoenix incubators like the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation at GateWay Community College.

GateWay Community College is located in Phoenix, AZ
There is so much excitement building around these pockets of entrepreneurship that have developed along ‘Washington Row’ in Phoenix. --CEI Executive Director Jeff Saville.

The Kauffman Foundation has cited Arizona as being at the center of a recent boon in nationwide entrepreneurship, with startup companies being created at a higher rate here than in any other state in the country. It is no coincidence then that there has been an influx of new incubators and co-work spaces in Phoenix, such as Seed Spot, CO+Hoots and the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI), to help these local startups navigate the often treacherous waters of early stage development.

“There is so much excitement building around these pockets of entrepreneurship that have developed along ‘Washington Row’ in Phoenix,” said CEI Executive Director Jeff Saville. “Together we’ve created this network of support for these entrepreneurs who are taking all the risk.”

Entrepreneurs like Mark Mahoney and Mark Sholin are just two of the 12 new clients who have joined CEI, a comprehensive business incubator at GateWay Community College, since it opened in Spring 2012.

Mahoney, founder of Voltmarc Technology, Inc., and Sholin, founder of Arbsource, know the risk of starting their own business.

Mahoney established Voltmarc Technology, Inc. after working for more than 30 years in the electrical trade. But he soon discovered a major industry deficiency, which was the lack of fast, reliable circuit tracing and identification of commercial buildings. Mahoney worked tirelessly developing technology to confront this issue, and soon Voltmarc had the only known prototype in the industry that could simultaneously monitor hundreds of circuits of any voltage and provide real-time updates with 100% accuracy.

Yet Mahoney knew that in order to take his business to the next level he needed to leverage the growing visibility of Phoenix and CEI.

“I want to see my invention live far beyond me,” he said. “And the recognition and access that CEI brings is unmatched to anything I have seen, making the center a critical resource for growing the Voltmarc brand.”

Similarly, Arbsource was borne out of Sholin’s local ties to the environmental biotechnology research conducted at Arizona State University where he began his Ph.D. studies. Specializing in wastewater treatment for the food and beverage industry, Arbsource posed a tremendous opportunity for Sholin, and he made the decision in summer 2011 to set aside his studies indefinitely to chase his entrepreneurial vision.

“It was just an indicator of the passion that I have, especially as a Phoenix native growing up in this desert environment, and understanding just how vital proper water resource management is to our way of life.”

Sholin devoted himself completely to Arbsource, and as a result, the company was able to design proprietary Arbcell bioreactors that not only can treat wastewater faster and more efficiently but also can generate value-added byproducts for organizations that deploy the technology.

CEI offers extensive business development resources without taking any equity in their client companies, helping position them for long-term growth and success. With comprehensive business education programming, as well as access to student research teams and a vast network of mentors, partner organizations, and additional public and private entities, the center is able to assist companies like Voltmarc and Arbsource as they strive to commercialize and possibly franchise their technologies.

Visit CEI online for more information about Voltmarc and Arbsource.

The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation is a community-based facility at GateWay Community College, one of the 10 regionally accredited Maricopa Community Colleges, located in the heart of Discovery Triangle. With funding from the US Economic Development Administration, City of Phoenix and Maricopa Community Colleges, CEI provides targeted business services and proactive business support to create a systematic link between technology development, compelling markets and opportunities; entrepreneurial and managerial talent development; early stage capital sourcing; and education and training, interns, coaching and business counseling.

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Greg Bullock, CEI Marketing Assistant
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Maricopa Community Colleges 50th Anniversary 2012