PHX East Valley is a Hub for Tech and Innovation

As Arizona’s reputation for being the “Silicon Desert” grows, the PHX East Valley is an undeniable force in the tech landscape. The region is a tech hot spot for entrepreneurs and established companies alike, lured by the area’s talent, culture and cost of doing business.

“The PHX East Valley offers everything that a tech company needs to be successful,” said Micah Miranda, Chandler’s Economic Development Director. “Our region has made a concerted effort to ensure that companies have access to an educated workforce, great quality of life, supply of land and buildings meeting industry needs, and reliable infrastructure.”

“Companies that locate here know that they are supported and that our regional community (government, utility companies and other service providers) will be dedicated partners in their growth,” Miranda said.

Whether an entrepreneur with the next big idea to a global powerhouse, tech calls the PHX East Valley home. Take a look inside six of the region’s key communities:


Tempe’s vision for growing innovation and talent is easy to see around the city, whether through its cluster of tech companies or inside its unique innovation centers. At one end of the city, outside-the-box designers propose making athletic wear using mosquito repellant fabric; at another, engineers look to maximize renewable energy.

“Tempe has provided a strong foundation for the creation and expansion of firms and jobs by promoting and supporting companies, entrepreneurs, universities, researchers and investors across sectors and disciplines,” said Donna Kennedy, the city’s Economic Development director.

Tempe’s tech reputation has grown with its many economic assets. Chief among them is Arizona State University, highly regarded in the fields of engineering, bioscience, aerospace, sustainability and technology programs, which leads the way in growing the talent pool in the region. Tempe’s proposed biotech campus is expected to create a hub that will attract businesses working in the tech, medical and biosciences industries. And the city’s Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRiC) and FABRIC, which works with fashion companies, promote innovation.


Mesa has cemented its reputation as a hub for award-winning universities and community colleges, ranging from Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus to Maricopa Community Colleges  to A.T. Still University.  Whether preparing professionals for the biotech field or engineers for the aerospace industry or app developers for success in the mobile world, these education assets are supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, meeting industry demand, and growing the region’s workforce.

“Mesa is known as well for its cluster of world-class aerospace and defense manufacturers and other high tech companies conducting research and development, next generation manufacturing operations, and healthcare innovation,” said William J. Jabjiniak, the city’s Economic Development Director. Collectively, the impact of these companies – from Apple and Fujifilm to Able Aerospace and The Boeing Company to Metso and First Solar – is felt worldwide.

The city also boasts the Elliot Road Technology Corridor, which has more than 1,000 acres of shovel-ready land and sought-after infrastructure including affordable, redundant power capacity; robust dark fiber network; available natural gas; convenient freeway access and more. Coupled with Mesa’s streamlined entitlement process, companies are drawn in by the ability to begin operations quickly.

On the horizon, the planned Falcon Tech Center will offer a high-end, campus-like setting that will cluster medical technology companies.


Miranda said Chandler has developed a reputation as the “innovation and technology hub of the Southwest” thanks to the presence of world-renowned tech companies.  Beyond veteran Intel, the city’s tech cluster includes Avnet, Garmin, Microchip, NXP Semiconductors, PayPal, Verizon and GM’s Arizona IT Innovation Center. He credits the tech sector success to proactive leadership, a corporate-friendly environment, award-winning quality of life, skilled workforce and top-ranked schools.

When eCommerce solutions provider atmosol faced rapid growth, it turned to Chandler for its new home.

“We wanted to find a large space that had an agency feel with a game room, conference rooms, etc.,” said CEO Vishal Wadher. “Since our work is online, and our clients are mostly out of Arizona, we could be located anywhere.”

The city’s selling points? Quality of life, cost of living, and available square footage.

Chandler is also home to multiple resources for entrepreneurs and tech startups. This includes a city-funded business incubator called “Innovations” that offers incubation programming and services delivered by NACET; TechShop, the community-based workshop and prototyping studio;  technology-based education at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center and more.

“These resources have built a startup ecosystem that provides the talented individuals already living and working in Chandler with access to the tools and resources needed to launch and scale their own tech companies,” Miranda said.

Queen Creek

Queen Creek bills itself as a “small town suburb” focused on agritainment, the farm-to-table movement, and honoring its equestrian heritage. The town also sets its sights on growth and fostering innovation.

“As a growing community, the town continues to prioritize investing in its infrastructure for the community’s current and future needs,” said Doreen Cott, the town’s Economic Development Director. “Recent and on-going public investment include crucial elements like roads, bike lanes and utilities, but also other features that enhance the town’s high quality of life.”

Those enhancements are all attractive assets for today’s workers: diverse housing options; a unique 11-mile recreational trail loop and new parks; a range of retail and restaurants. A unique partnership with Gangplank, a collaborative workspace, also promotes a strong entrepreneurial culture.

Apache Junction

Sitting in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains, Apache Junction boasts a unique quality of life with breathtaking desert views and a wide range of outdoor amenities. That “away-from-it-all” living coupled with the city’s proximity to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and surrounding employment corridors provide great work and play lifestyle opportunities for tech companies and their workers, said Janine Solley, the city’s Economic Development Director.

As the city looks to the future, its wish list includes attracting more entrepreneurs.

“Apache Junction is continuing to grow an entrepreneurial program aimed at engaging entrepreneurs of all ages and training backgrounds,” Solley said. “Potential next steps may include partnerships with local schools to offer entrepreneurship training opportunities to local youth. The city is also looking at various opportunities to support further investment and development in our downtown.”


Fast-growing Gilbert is home to tech companies with wide-ranging missions, from ground-breaking biotech at Heliae to satellite and national security tech at Orbital ATK.

A slate of assets and resources continue to make the town attractive to tech, including: a young and educated workforce; available and affordable real estate and creative office space; access to regional partners; a vibrant downtown area; and SPARK Spot, a space designed to help entrepreneurs grow.

“Growing entrepreneurship and fostering innovation are key focus areas for the town,” said Dan Henderson, the town’s Economic Development Director. Targeted business strategies are designed to draw next generation tech companies advancing fields such as AI or robotics. Those strategies include everything from working with the development community to build creative office space to working with higher education partners to build a workforce starting in pre-k through grade 12.

TicketForce, an innovative ticketing solutions company, launched in Gilbert in 2003. From humble beginnings inside owner Lynne King Smith’s converted garage, the company has grown into a market leader with a new headquarters under construction downtown that will include a co-working space and restaurants.

“I love the town and wouldn’t want my business to be anywhere else,” King Smith said. “From an economic perspective, there is a large pool for workers in the East Valley. We have employees who live in Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe and Scottsdale, all with a 20-minute drive or less. It’s a wonderful place to recruit out-of-state workers too, with so many accolades in safety, cleanliness, and services.”

Strategic Advantages

Mesa’s Jabjiniak only sees the region growing stronger as a tech and innovation center.

“The East Valley’s population is now nearly 1.5 million and 36 percent of the population holds a bachelor’s degree or higher,” he said.

This talented workforce, paired with the presence of regional assets and industry market leaders, have created strategic advantages for technology companies to locate in the PHX East Valley.

Jabjiniak went on to say that the entrepreneurial ecosystem is thriving because entrepreneurs and innovators are willing and excited to collaborate and partner with each other, and companies to grow this region.

As we say, collaboration is the new competition.

Download the PHX East Valley Technology Corridor Map