Moving Forward in the Face of Change In August 2011, during the first ever Startup Weekend Tucson, a team of us pitched the idea for a community of leaders taking action to drive economic, technological, social, and cultural change to strengthen our businesses, our region, and ourselves. We called this idea “Startup Tucson” and envisioned it as a way to catalyze a strong community out of Tucson’s innovators, entrepreneurs, technologists, creatives, and community leaders. Six years later, we can all see the amazing success that emerged from the launch of Startup Tucson that weekend. We see thousands of people with diverse experiences and skills coming together every day to be part of this new leadership community – building and growing new businesses, mentoring and investing in new projects, and aggressively responding to the change we see all around us. Following the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election, I think everyone recognized that major changes were underway in our nation and that we could expect a new wave of budget cuts. Late last month, we learned that a major source of funding for Startup Tucson, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s ScaleUp America initiative, would be discontinued effective October 1, 2017. This cut comes despite its enormous success here locally ($6 million in revenue growth and 70+ jobs created) and nationally across all 15 cities. While the news is hard to hear, change is a fundamental reality we all face and the rate of that change is only getting faster with each day. Given this new reality, we must work together locally and innovate our way through the change to the success that we all want to build. Startup Tucson recognizes this important fact and after feedback from our past alumni, we will be implementing a dynamic new educational framework called “Thryve Sprints.” These tighter, more intensive “Sprints” will allow Startup Tucson to deliver highly targeted support to up to 400 entrepreneurs each year without the need for additional resources. Below this note is the full press release that we sent out minutes ago announcing these changes. Today, I ask you to make a renewed commitment to investing in the growth of our community. Going forward, the work of Startup Tucson will be supported by the investments we make together to build and strengthen Tucson – a city we all love – and now, more than before, that investment will dictate the programming we can offer. Invest in Tucson’s economy. Invest in our next generation of leaders. Invest in a better future. Your contribution today will make a difference. $1,000 educates one entrepreneur in a Thryve Sprint. $500 brings together 50 entrepreneurs at Startup Drinks. $100 helps two student entrepreneurs connect with investors at IdeaFunding. All contributions are tax deductible, so if you have the means, please consider making a contribution to Startup Tucson today. Donate via PayPal Innovation is a simple, if not an easy, human activity. We work together to find problems worth solving, and we push past the obstacles we face to find a solution that solves the needs of people. Now we demonstrate that we can practice what we preach, and go to work innovating our future, together. Justin Williams Founder & CEO, Startup Tucson P.S. If you have been thinking about getting involved, whether that’s showing up at an event, starting a new business, or seeking to mentor or invest in the work of someone else, now is the best time to begin. Check out our event page to learn more about our upcoming programs and express your interest to mentor by completing our onboarding form. Finally, with TENWEST Festival approaching, we are seeking both volunteers and fundraising support. If you are looking for ways to get involved, let us know today!