Phoenix Mayor wants to create knowledge nest-egg for Valley

July 13, 2004

By Flinn Foundation

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is looking to pool resources into a fund that could help the Valley in its quest for a new knowledge-based economy.

Dubbed the “Knowledge Economy Capital Fund,” Gordon’s vision involves raising $100 million dollars to help attract new high-tech companies to Phoenix, including those in the biosciences. The fund would be only the latest in a series of steps Phoenix and Arizona have taken in recent years to spark a more high-tech and knowledge-focused economy.

“We’re trying to create jobs and wealth,” Gordon told the Arizona Republic. “These are the types of businesses we should be incentivizing, not those that bring $7-an-hour jobs to the Valley.”

“Defense, aerospace, bioscience, information processing—those are the industries that bring dollars to an area,” Joe Yuhas, deputy director of the Arizona Department of Commerce, said in the Republic.

Gordon raised the idea during his State of the City Address in May, saying that funding would be modeled after the successful effort to recruit the Translational Genomics Research Institute in 2002—from public, private, and nonprofit sources. The City of Phoenix played a major role in recruiting Jeffrey Trent to establish TGen headquarters in Phoenix over competing regions.

For Gordon’s capital fund to succeed, he will need to garner regional cooperation and find backers in the public and private sectors; the Republic reported that former Mayor Paul Johnson, chairman of the Arizona Technology Council, has pledged to raise $25 million.

“Any efforts to make our region more competitive and build a stronger economy, I am going to look at very seriously,” Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman told the Republic. “The success or failure of our building the broader economy on knowledge-based industries will require cross-border cooperation among the cities.”

For more information:

Gordon seeks $100 million to lure new industries,” Arizona Republic, 07/09/04

Mayor Gordon’s 2004 State of the City Address