An Innovation-Based, Export Economy
Since the recession shook Phoenix's economy, Stanton led the charge to shift our regional economy from one overly reliant on real estate development to one rooted in innovation and trade and more supportive of small businesses. The results: Phoenix's unemployment rate has been cut in half, from nearly 8 percent in January 2012 to 3.7 percent in October 2017. Last year Phoenix led the nation in wage growth.
Investing in the Biosciences
Even when times were tough, Phoenix made critical investments in bringing the biosciences downtown. The downtown Phoenix Biomedical Campus today is home to world-class institutions including the Translational Genomics Research Institute, University of Arizona College of Medicine, and the University of Arizona Cancer Center at St. Joseph’s. Support from the mayor and council helped open three new buildings on the campus since 2012 – and the campus is now filled with doctors, researchers and students from all three of our public universities.
In Northeast Phoenix on the Arizona Biomedical Corridor, Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University – two of the best innovators on the planet – have teamed up with the City to create a national destination for top-quality healthcare. In 2016, with the help of the Phoenix IDA, Mayo opened its $180 million proton beam therapy center. And right now, ASU is finalizing plans for the flagship building of what will become a 24-acre Health Solutions Innovation Campus.
Rebuilding the Phoenix-Mexico Relationship
Stanton took charge of Phoenix’s economy by renewing our focus on exports. That started by repairing the city’s relationship with Mexico – the state’s largest trading partner – which had been damaged by divisive state politics.
Stanton’s personal commitment to turn the tide and rebuild relationships has been marked by 18 trade missions to Mexico and the opening of two Phoenix trade offices (Mexico City and Hermosillo). Exports to Mexico now support more than 100,000 jobs in Arizona with the potential for far more. Mexican consumers and tourists are returning to Arizona, and Mexican companies are re-investing and creating jobs here.
Creating Jobs Through Exports
In 2013, Stanton announced an initiative to help local entrepreneurs grow their business across international borders. Phoenix became one of the first cities in the country to launch an export readiness boot camp – ExporTech – to help companies get serious about exporting. Under Stanton’s leadership of the Maricopa Association of Governments, ExporTech was expanded in 2016 throughout the Metro Phoenix region.
In 2016, President Obama awarded the City of Phoenix the President’s “E” Award for Export Service – the highest recognition any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. Phoenix became only the fifth city to earn the honor in 54 years.
PHX Core: Phoenix's Innovation District
A growing number of technology companies and startups have made their home in downtown Phoenix and the historic Warehouse District, drawn to the walkable, urban environment and close-knit network of entrepreneurs. Under Stanton’s direction, this area has been designated an innovation district – PHX Core – and city and community leaders have worked together to plan for its future.
Over the last five years, the number of tech companies downtown has quadrupled from 67 to nearly 300 – and more are setting up shop in the Core every week. Tech campus Galvanize, located in the city’s resurgent Warehouse District tech hub, is home to more than 100 companies alone. Forbes, Fortune and The New York Times have all pointed to Phoenix as a rising community for tech and entrepreneurship.
A Higher Education Nucleus
Downtown’s success as a hub for innovation has been possible because of the growing number of university students who now call it home. A decade ago, there were virtually zero students in downtown Phoenix, and in a few years that number will reach more than 17,000. During Stanton’s time in office, City investments helped bring the Beus Center for Law and Society, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, as well as the Eller College of Management MBA program to downtown.
Both ASU and U of A are working with their colleges in downtown Phoenix to open incubators and collaboration spaces to support the next generation of entrepreneurs.