Table of Contents
Sponsors | Supporters | Methodology | Critical Factors to Success | Capital Access

Assistance to Entrepreneurs | Role of State Government | Other Important Issues |
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Tucson Electric


Snell and Wilmer Law

Salt River Project

Profit Dynamics

Enterprise Network

Bowne and Co.


Arizona Public Service

Arizona Angels

Critical Factors To Success

The Top Five Factors

Arizona's entrepreneurs believe the most important keys to their success are:

1. Access to early stage venture capital -- private investors

2. Networking/ information exchange opportunities

3. Education for entrepreneurs- seminars, workshops, training programs

4. Business leadership involvement in building Arizona's entrepreneurial image

5. Presence of more corporate headquarters

Entrepreneurs were asked "What are the most critical factors entrepreneurs in Arizona need in the business community in order to be successful?" And to select the five most important factors in priority order, the most important factor as 1, the least important factor as 5.

Comparative Rating of All Factors

Entrepreneurs have a strong idea of what they need to succeed. A wide variance-1.45 points- as shown in Table 1 existed between the factors rated most and least important by entrepreneurs.

Table 1 Average Rating Of All Factors (starting with most important):
Access to early stage venture capital - private investors 2.28
Education for entrepreneurs 2.67
Networking/information exchange opportunities 2.68
Presence of more corporate headquarters 2.81
Strong business leadership 2.86
Available management talent 2.88
Accessible and skilled workforce 2.95
Business community awareness/understanding/support of entrepreneurs 3.07
Superior education system, K-12, colleges and universities 3.09
Reputation of business community inside and outside of Arizona 3.10
Other 3.17
Reasonable pay scale/cost of living 3.23
Professionals support structure (accountants, attorneys, etc.) 3.28
Research, development & tech transfer programs of state universities 3.29
Technological infrastructure 3.33
Public-sector understanding/support of business community 3.49
Overall quality of life 3.60
Airport/transportation infrastructure 3.73

The Top Priorities

There are several ways the top priorities can be viewed: the factors can be prioritized based on how often that particular factor was named priority number 1 as shown in Table 2. How often it made the top five overall, Table 3. The average point score can also be looked at, Table 1. And how often the factor was suggested in the essay response questions. While Access to Capital is clearly the top factor, the remaining factors vary in ranking.

Table 2 Factors Rated Priority Number 1 By Respondents:
Access to early stage venture capital - private investors 22.2%
Networking/information exchange opportunities 11.9%
Education for entrepreneurs 9.9%
Strong business leadership 7.7%
Accessible and skilled workforce 7.2%
Presence of more corporate headquarters 6.9%

Table 3 Factors Cited Most Often By Respondents
Access to early stage venture capital - private investors 52.1%
Networking/information exchange opportunities 40.9%
Presence of more corporate headquarters 32.0%
Strong business leadership 31.8%
Education for entrepreneurs 31.5%
Available management talent 29.0%
**adds up to more than 100% because each respondent was asked to select five factors out of 18

How the top five priorities were determined

1. Access to Capital was named the top priority by 22% of entrepreneurs and it was named most often overall in the top five priorities, by 52% of respondents. It also had the highest average score when all the priorities were ranked.

2. Networking is in second place because of its second place finish in two categories and third place in the 'average score' category.

3. Education follows Networking because of its third place in 'priority' and fifth place as 'most often' even though it had a better 'average score' than Networking.

4. Business leadership involvement in building Arizona's entrepreneurial image is fourth which reflects the fourth place of Strong Business Leadership in 'priority' and because the four most frequently mentioned responses on page 23 all address the issue of strong business leadership for Arizona, from media organizations, leaders of business development organizations, in enhancing the state's entrepreneurial image, and in direct support of emerging enterprises from large businesses in the state.

5. Presence of More Corporate Headquarters is in fifth place based on its 'average' score, and it is the most suggested recommendation for how the state can nurture a strong entrepreneurial community .

Lower Priorities For Entrepreneurs

While it's important to look at what are the most critical factors, it's also interesting to look at the least critical factors and these are shown in Table 5.

Table 5 Factors Receiving Fewest Votes For Priority Number 1:
Airport/transportation infrastructure 1.0%
Research, development & tech transfer programs of state universities 1.2%
Public-sector understanding/support of business community 1.2%
Reasonable pay scale/cost of living 1.5%
Overall quality of life 1.7%
Technological infrastructure 1.7%

A surprising result was that Research and Development & Tech Transfer programs were ranked so low. These are often thought to be a catalyst for entrepreneurial activity in a region.

The chart shows a comparison of the most critical and least critical priorities and their variance from an average score of 3.


Nearly 9% of respondents chose the category 'other' and volunteered their own ideas about what should be one of the five priorities. Selected comments are in quotes below:

"Support and programs, loans, grants from state, city and county governments."

"Reduced competition and opposition from the existing electrical Utilities toward Renewable Energy."

"Lower taxes."

"Business climate offered by the state. Is it supportive? Is it friendly to business?"

"Reasonable cost for health benefits for small businesses under 10 employees."

"Community understanding and endorsement. Media support of entrepreneurs."

"Promoting local startup companies on TV, newspapers, magazines, locally and nationally."

"Mentors with technical, communications, and regulatory knowledge--all of the areas needed to run a startup business."

"A Private University System. We cannot depend upon the state for such a crucial resource."

"Create one huge competitive advantage available nowhere else in the world."

Copyright 2002, Profit Dynamics, Inc,.
Dee Power & Brian E. Hill
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