SkySong forms modern trade center
This month marked the completion of SkySong’s first 157,000-square-foot building and the establishment of key partnerships with more than 20 global startups and mid-sized companies from Canada, China, Ireland, Germany, India, Japan, Turkey, Mexico, Singapore and the U.K.
SkySong, ASU’s cutting-edge international business and innovation center, houses 14 ASU units, including the Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative, ASU Technopolis and the Enterprise Arizona Venture Center.
Conceptualized in 2004, SkySong has remained true to its original imperative: to serve as a global hub of innovation, a new platform for ASU to engage more easily with the business community and a catalyst for the revitalization of southern Scottsdale. As the third fastest growing U.S. economy, Arizona is well-positioned as a venue for global business exchange.
“SkySong is destined to become one of the most important economic drivers for Arizona and the Southwest region,” says ASU President Michael Crow. “This innovation hub is a way to unite the resources at ASU with the needs of the City of Scottsdale. SkySong represents an investment in research, entrepreneurship and sustainability, but above all, a conviction that creativity, positive synergies and innovation can only occur when people are allowed to find connections and think differently to solve challenging problems.”
Currently, 18 international and 7 domestic businesses comprise the innovation center, which is poised for dramatic growth over the next seven years. SkySong is projected to help generate more than 4,000 jobs for the local economy and add the missing key to Phoenix, a city that yields the sixth largest amount of technology exports but still lacks a major trade center.
“ASU is an economic driver for the entire state,” says City of Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross. “ASU’s success in attracting global businesses to SkySong is equally important for the future of our city, region and state. In the 21st century, our economic success depends on our ability to compete in the global economy. I want Scottsdale to lead the way.”
Equipped with state-of-the-art conference rooms and open, natural-light filled offices that come in all shapes and sizes for every type of worker, SkySong appears to be the solution to the needs of today’s technology-driven, collaborative and mobile business enterprises.
“SkySong is an environment that enables collaboration,” says Julia Rosen, associate vice president for Innovation and Entrepreneurship . “We want to partner with the companies that are housed here. We want to help them grow.”
While engaging in global business, SkySong also emphasizes community growth. In addition to the transformation of retail, residence and transportation components of south Scottsdale, the development of business and university ties are expected to flourish, allowing for easy connections between entrepreneurs and ASU students, faculty, and staff. SkySong clients will have the advantage of tapping into the limitless resources of knowledge at ASU, and in return students will gain experience. The trade route offers an optimal exchange for both clients and students.
Student involvement has been a priority from the beginning with several projects that helped form the foundation of the center.
ASU design students had the opportunity to create design concepts for the center that match the themes and goals of SkySong. The students’ use of bold colors is symbolic of the SkySong’s diverse and collaborative identity. The student-led café, aptly named Skycafe, was the winner of a $10,000 Entrepreneur Advantage Project grant that included a space in the center to set up shop where they cater center events and sell a variety of teas, coffees and food items.
ASU also provides a wealth of mentoring services to SkySong businesses seeking help with funding, business strategies and technological challenges through such programs as ASU Technopolis and the Enterprise Arizona Venture Center.
As a business gathering place for scientists, engineers, accountants, lawyers and a vast array of ventures that range from e-learning companies to developing local search engines, SkySong offers a seamless link between the university, the community and the international business world.
The center is designed as a mixed-use project with a targeted 1.2 million square feet space to feature high-tech commercial office, research and retail units. More construction for parking garages, additional buildings and a plaza is still underway. Completion for the full build-out is estimated for 2015.