Tucson was the host for a group of Young Pacific Leaders from Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Marshall Islands and New Zealand. The group visited the Pascua Yaqui Police Department with Lieutenant Elizabeth Esparza to discuss immigration issues and other areas the police encounter on the reservation.
Greg Watson of the University of Arizona McGuire Center met with the group and talked about entrepreneurship. The group was so interested that when it was suggested they break for lunch they asked him to keep going!
They also met with CJ Karamargin from Senator McSally’s office to learn about the campaign process. Interesting for them since they are from mostly small countries that don’t have the same type of elections that the USA does.
Sun Corridors welcomed them too. Discussing economic development and growth in the southern Arizona sector was of interest to the group too.
The next outstanding meeting was with Eric Smith, Executive Director, of the Tech Park – an amalgamation of incubator, acceleration, and coworking space. It is a nonprofit, strategically managed community with office space, and dry and wet labs to welcome new researchers and startups. They were shocked, the Center has 6,000 people working there, is self sustaining from the rents of major companies, and provides space and wrap around services, starting at $250/month for those who want access to U of A students, researchers, faculty, and technology transfer from a land grant university. The visitors learned of a new business model. It is less expensive and more innovative for big companies to support new research and startups, and if successful, buy them out quickly, than to do and have their own R & D facility.
The group was also fortunate enough to have some time at the Tohono O’odham nation meeting with Chairman Austin Nunez. He told them about the reservation land and the structure of the different districts.