University of Arizona Student Entrepreneurs Compete for Multi-Faceted Business Support | Tech Parks Arizona
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University of Arizona Student Entrepreneurs Compete for Multi-Faceted Business Support

Perkins Coie LLP and the University of Arizona (UA) Center for Innovation once again partnered to present the Perkins Coie Innovative Minds Challenge award. The program is designed to provide UA’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship student teams with a significant leg up on executing their business ventures upon graduation. Recipients will receive $10,000, as well as business development support. Funds were also awarded to startups committed to launching their ventures and remaining in Tucson.

Finalists considered for the 2019 Perkins Coie Innovative Minds Challenge competed in the day-long UA McGuire New Venture Competition and were further vetted by Perkins Coie attorneys and UA Center for Innovation leadership. Coming out on top was ZAP Parking, a startup promising to revolutionize the way people pay for parking, using geofencing technology to simplify what can be a tedious process. Team members Izhar Sajid, Evan Assalley, Thore Weber and Austin Easler worked together for eight months, conductingperkins.jpg more than 275 interviews with potential B2C and B2B customers. ZAP already has a promising start, with intentions of filing a provisional patent by the end of the year and launching a pilot with UA in coming months. “We are confident that we have validated the problem and have identified an effective solution to address the issue,” says Izhar Sajid, ZAP’s chief executive officer. “With the backing of Perkins Coie and UA Center for Innovation we are confident that we will succeed.”

The $10,000 is earmarked to help with some of the venture’s startup costs and will be paid out as they achieve agreed upon milestones that will move them towards commercialization and launch. In addition to the monetary award, UA Center for Innovation is providing six months of full-service office space, including customized business development and mentoring services.

“It is encouraging to see the Tucson startup community come together to provide support and financial resources that will allow these teams to develop their businesses in a supportive environment and prepare them for entry into the commercial marketplace,” said Anita Bell, director of UA Center for Innovation.

In addition to the Perkins Coie Innovative Minds Challenge, teams competed for the Stay in Tucson Award. Supported by UA Center for Innovation, Tech Parks Arizona, Tucson Innovation Partnership and Startup Tucson, the Stay in Tucson Award provides business support and resources for student teams that are committed to launching and keeping their ventures in Tucson. Tech Parks Arizona contributed $1,000 to the package and winning teams can take advantage of UA Center for Innovation incubation services for three months. The award is going to three teams and will be shared depending on their needs.

Stay in Tucson Award winners are:

Exakt Technology – leverages connected technology and data collection to make healthcare more cost effective and outcome oriented for patients suffering from atrial fibrillation.

Guided – centralized platform for students, parents, and counselors to provide a customizable university finder, standardized test, scholarship and financial aid guides. Easing the higher education process, propelling students towards higher education.

Vivify Tea Co.– sells high quality CBD-infused teas for tea lovers who want to enjoy the many benefits of CBD in a relaxing and refreshing way.

University of Arizona Center for Innovation fosters technology startups, emerging, and mature companies in the development of their ideas, inventions, and next evolution of product. UA Center for Innovation clients are provided first-class facilities including office, wet and dry lab space, and a structured business development program, which offers a variety of workshops, seminars and networking opportunities. Participating companies also receive individual coaching from mentors experienced in technology innovation, product development and business management. The UA Center for Innovation is located at the UA Tech Park and part of Tech Parks Arizona which brings together university, industry, and community creating “interactive ground” to advance technology commercialization.

Perkins Coie is a leading international law firm that is known for providing high value, strategic solutions and extraordinary client service on matters vital to our clients’ success. With more than 1,100 lawyers in offices across the United States and in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei, we provide a full array of corporate, commercial litigation, intellectual property and regulatory legal advice to a broad range of clients, including many of the world’s most innovative companies and industry leaders as well as public and not-for-profit organizations.

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