The Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation (AREDF) received $298,504 from the U.S. Economic Development Association (EDA) for a new tech hub in Cochise County.

According to the AREDF website the organization has a “the mission of creating a thriving, sustainable economy.”

Mignonne hollis, executive director for the foundation, said they have been working on the project for years before applying for the grant. She said now was the time to apply, because they have the preliminary research and saw the success the program after COVID because the business in the program didn’t have to pause or shutdown.

According to the EDA website: “This EDA investment will help launch Cochise Ignite┬áto cultivate a nascent tech economy by building partnerships across industries, solidifying governance models for an inclusive tech ecosystem, and planning and prototyping new tech-based entrepreneurship programming.”

“We’re really excited,” Hollis said.

The plan is to use the grant money to do research, staff mentors from tech related jobs, and create a tech hub. Hollis said the tech hub will be a space for local entrepreneurs who work with or in tech to grow their business.

This is really about growing your own,” Hollis said. “And as were growing our own and using the talent we have here, were providing jobs to our region. When you provide those jobs in a region and when you have a strong tech culture, then youre going to attract. I always say you cant attach if you dont have something attractive.

Hollis said it was important to the foundation bring in jobs and business that support the local residents.

We also feel that you take care of your family first. And Cochise County is our family,” she said. “So we want to make sure that in Cochise County all of those under-served and underrepresented communities have the same opportunities as everybody else.

Hollis said this is a multi-year project and the first year will be focused on research and creating an asset mapping.

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