Why Small Businesses are Thriving in the PHX East Valley

Small Businesses are important and we should all give a collective shout of praise to the over 28 million small firms that account for more than half of all U.S. sales. It’s true that small businesses are engines of job creation, and here in Arizona, the best example of that is in the six communities –

Apache Junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek and Tempe – that are the PHX East Valley.

Nationally ranked for its entrepreneurial activities, the PHX East Valley has become a hotbed for emerging technologies and some of the most creative new business concepts. It’s no wonder why we are seeing one of our best years ever in terms of business growth.

Last month alone, Sunbelt Investment Holdings purchased 67.5 acres for a planned Mesa Elliot Technology Park that will include up to 3.5 million square feet of office, industrial and flex space. Southeast Mesa also is poised for 700 acres of new development near Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. And a plethora of companies announced plans for expansion or new projects in the region.

From Four Beaks Brewery in Tempe and the new Barnone retail community of skilled craftsmen and restaurateurs in Gilbert to startups like Eyetech Digital in Mesa and Campus Logic in Gilbert, small businesses are locating, expanding and thriving in the six communities that call our region home.

But what does it take to create a climate where companies – especially small businesses – can not only survive, but thrive?

In my view, it starts by creating a culture of innovation – where entrepreneurs have access to resources that turn their cutting-edge ideas into business realities.

With a strong and growing talent pool, our region boasts one of the most educated workforces in the nation. All told, the PHX East Valley boasts a labor force of more than 800,000 workers, with 120,000 plus college students building a talent pipeline for the future.

Not only are we working to attract young talent to ASU and the ASU Biodesign Institute, each city in our region has an incubator to help entrepreneurs. The PHX East Valley also is home to one of our country’s best community college systems, Maricopa County Community College District.

Of course, the low cost of doing business is always a big draw. Compared to neighboring states, the cost of living in the PHX East Valley is lower and median household income is higher.

We have a pro-business climate, too, with aggressive tax credits and incentive programs. In addition, our region’s “Cost of Living” rating –100.7 – is below the national average and is 77 percent less on average than leading California markets.

But in the end, isn’t it all about our quality of life? Small business owners and their employees recognize the value of living in a region that offers diverse entertainment, culture, fine dining, safe neighborhoods, close proximity to exceptional healthcare, outdoor recreation and more.

A decade after the Great Recession, some regions are still working to regain their footing. In contrast, the East Valley is on an upward trajectory, with an estimated 1 million new residents and 400,000 new jobs projected during the next 30 years.

If you haven’t been to our region in a while, come visit our communities and talk with the region’s small business owners. You’ll see why they are living the American dream and why they chose to do so in the East Valley.