UA McGuire Center launches Rural Entrepreneurship Initiatives
Eller MBA and McGuire Center alumnus Bill Quiroga will lead integral Innovation Frontier Arizona program
TUCSON, Ariz. – June 16, 2008 – Producing a sustainable innovation-based economy is at the crux of Governor Janet Napolitano’s Innovation Frontier Arizona (IFA). An integral component for IFA is The University of Arizona’s Rural Entrepreneurship Initiatives — focused on stimulating both entrepreneurial opportunity and entrepreneurial thinkers.
IFA unites some 40+ partners, including UA’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship and the College of Academic Outreach, in its goal to align education, workforce development, and economic development. The Rural Entrepreneurship Initiatives are focused around building entrepreneurial capacity through community programs designed to serve new and would-be entrepreneurs and K-20 education. The outcomes will include new opportunities and individuals who are prepared to identify and act on them.
Last week, the McGuire Center took an important step forward with the appointment of entrepreneur Guillermo (Bill) Quiroga, who will direct the new Rural Entrepreneurship Initiatives.
“Southern Arizona has a high-tech economy centered on border interests ― border management, homeland security, aerospace, military, and defense industries,” explained Quiroga. “The problem we have now is that employers have to go outside the region to find qualified employees. The long-range vision is to grow the needed employees locally; building a workforce that can identify and act on opportunities to stimulate entrepreneurial growth which will in turn provide healthier communities and economies.”
The McGuire Center’s Rural Entrepreneurship Initiatives will target four key populations, from elementary education through mature business enterprises, in order to create and foster an entrepreneurial culture in Southern Arizona. Each initiative fits with broader regional population-specific goals
- K-12 IdeaFair uses the traditional science fair model and steps of scientific investigation as a method of exploring problem-based business solutions. The project will prepare students to better understand entrepreneurial principles, establishing a foundation for solving problems in their homes, schools, and communities.
- Collegiate: Entrepreneurship Curriculum Development – Working in partnership with regional community colleges and UA South, this project will build on the K-12 experience by engaging students in higher-level involvement with entrepreneurial principles. It will enable exploration into the range of environments where the principles can be applied to address problems of the community and the economy.
- Emergent Entrepreneurs: IdeaXchange establishes a social network among emerging and existing entrepreneurs to share information and receive experienced, hands-on guidance regarding all aspects of business formation and growth.
- Mature and Successful Entrepreneurs: Rural Entrepreneurship Society will capture the experience and vision of IFA regional leaders in order to have a powerful impact on communities. The Society focuses on regional assessments of resources, opportunities, challenges, and policy recommendations in order to celebrate entrepreneurial achievement.
“Bill is uniquely qualified to maximize IFA’s plan and create true entrepreneurial capacity through these four segments,” said Sherry Hoskinson, director of the McGuire Center. “He is an entrepreneur in his own right, his business experience is regionally relevant and culturally specific, and he has significant ties throughout Southern Arizona. It is an ideal match.”
Quiroga joins the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship at the UA’s Eller College of Management from Native American Botanics Corporation, which he launched from the McGuire Program, and served as president and CEO for the past ten years. A member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe, he is actively involved in the Native American community, having served organizations including the San Ignacio Yaqui Council of Old Pascua Village, the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Housing Authority, and the Tucson Indian Center, where he was Executive Director from 1990 to 1996.
In 1998 while finishing his MBA at the Eller College of Management, Quiroga entered the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program and wrote the business plan for Native American Botanics. Since launching that venture, he has earned several awards including induction into The University of Arizona’s McGuire Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame for Outstanding Development of a Socially Aware Business and the Eller College of Management’s Alumni Achievement Award. In 2003 he received the Southern Arizona Small Business Development Council’s Enterprise Development Award for Manufacturing Firm of the Year.
The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship is a National Model Program of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and is home to the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, ranked the #2 public undergraduate and #1 public graduate program in the nation by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review. Established in 1984, it was one of the first university-based entrepreneurship centers in the country. Today, the Center offers entrepreneurship education for any graduate program at the University of Arizona and reaches more than 1,000 undergraduate students every semester. With courses in business, law, science, engineering, health, medicine, arts, and humanities, the McGuire Center advances the state and regional economy, advances entrepreneurship education nationwide, and teaches life-long problem solving for economic, social, scientific, and environmental progress.
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in management information systems, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller undergraduate program #12 among public business schools and two of its programs are among the top 20 — Entrepreneurship and MIS. U.S. News & World Report ranks the Eller MBA Full-Time program #44 in the U.S. The College leads the nation’s business schools in generating grant funds for research. In addition to a Full-Time MBA program, the Eller College offers an Evening MBA program, the Eller Executive MBA and the Online MBA. The Eller College of Management supports more than 5,000 undergraduate and 600 graduate students on the UA campus in beautiful Tucson, Arizona.
Liz Warren-Pederson, Eller College of Management
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