An important element in IdeaFunding history is the tradition of honoring aspiring entrepreneurs and community leaders who have helped inspire others and build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tucson and Southern Arizona.
Originally founded by Larry Hecker and Sherry Hoskinson, IdeaFunding has been a part of both the University of Arizona’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship and the Arizona Center for Innovation, and now calls Startup Tucson home.
For over 20 years, IdeaFunding has been Tucson’s premier event for cultivating Southern Arizona’s entrepreneurial community bringing together individual and aspiring entrepreneurs, early-stage product and service developers, and startup founders with mentors, advisors, and investors for a day of networking, education and opportunity.
Always active in this event, the founders created a Lasting Community Builder Award in 2013 to recognize an individual that has shown outstanding commitment and dedication to building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Tucson, making a lasting impact as a community builder.
The award is named for the combined efforts of attorney and community leader Larry Hecker and startup ecosystem builder Sherry Hoskinson, both part of the original founding team for IdeaFunding.
This year at the IdeaFunding Startup Showcase on October 16th, the Larry Hecker and Sherry Hoskinson Lasting Community Builder Award was awarded to Tech Launch Arizona’s Senior Director of Venture Development Joann MacMaster.
Ms. MacMaster focuses on the commercialization of UA IP through the development of startup companies, a skill she’s had experience at after serving as Director of the Arizona Center for Innovation (AzCI) technology business incubator and Program Director for the UA McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship.
As a UA Academic Leadership Institute Fellow, Ms. MacMaster has an extensive background as an entrepreneur with three successful exits, including one IPO. Her background includes software translation, simulation, network software/hardware, and healthcare education. She served as Past President of the Arizona Business Incubation Association, is a board member of the Association for University Technology Managers, serves as a Science Foundation Ireland Sitting Panel member, and holds an international MBA from Edinburgh University, Scotland.
With a pedigree like this, she’s definitely an obvious choice as truly lasting community builder.