Thanks to Dustin Farrell for the fantastic timelapse of Arizona
Gangplank’s “big idea” is to fulfill the goal of creating quality jobs for Arizona through fundamental institutional change. We are transforming economic development - moving the focus from attracting large companies with low opportunity jobs - to investing in people and place. We must grow and retain local talent, while also building a place people want to live, attracting outside talent in high-growth industries - technology, biotech and alternative energy. This is the new economy.
We’re creating quality jobs and opportunity in Arizona by focusing on people.
Gangplank provides the physical infrastructure for those entering the new economy. We are a space for innovative ideas to spawn from new collaborations, existing businesses to grow and established companies to support future entrepreneurs. We have more than 25 mentors specializing in operations, finance, legal and design/marketing volunteering their time to move these companies forward and increase the retention rate of smart minds in Arizona. By providing mentoring, educational opportunities and connecting people, Gangplank supports those considering starting companies, as well as those already in business, to be more successful.
We’re creating a world-class education system by challenging the very premises the current system is built on.
Gangplank is expanding education opportunities for P-20 students, partnering with the Chandler Unified School District (CUSD), Chandler Gilbert Community College (CGCC), and Arizona State University and developing disruptive approaches to pedagogy. Additionally, Gangplank’s work on our youth program, Gangplank Junior, fosters entrepreneurship and creativity for students preschool to 18.
One such innovative partnership is between Gangplank Junior and Willis Junior High on their iAcademy. Educators often feel pressure to use technology and have it be the focus of a lesson because the school purchased the equipment. Gangplank is helping teachers and administrators understand technology is a tool, an extension of the student, and does not need to be the focus of curriculum. With this approach, we are establishing collaboration between students of different grade levels and even different schools.
With CGCC, Gangplank is offering cutting edge technology curriculum to further workforce development for the area’s biggest employers, while engaging entrepreneurs by keeping up with the latest trends and tools. Similarly, ASU and Gangplank are working to bring credibility to entrepreneurship as a career path, brainstorming programs from which students can earn degrees while starting their own business.
We’re engaging people civically, by showing them their voice matters and making the system more transparent.
Gangplank is engaged with the local community on all levels - as board members, committee chairs, volunteers - as well as supporting local restaurants and business. We break down the silos of traditional business, building innovative partnerships that diversify and improve Arizona’s economy. We’re reintroducing civic engagement by connecting entrepreneurs and politicians, leading to increased transparency in government and attachment to place.
Gangplank has provided a model for this transformative approach to economic development and civic engagement in Chandler. The space attracts numerous startups and small businesses, which have stated without this community in place, they would have moved elsewhere. All of the Anchor companies have hired locally, more than a dozen in six months, keeping talented young people from emigrating out of Arizona.
By teaching Arizona to invest and have confidence in itself, Gangplank is retaining talent and attracting new entrepreneurs to our state.