26 2009 GREATER PHOENIX ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LIVING HERE business Business Resource Guide Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce www. phoenixchamber. com 602- 495- 2195 Business leads and tools for growing businesses, saving money and having a voice in government. Greater Phoenix Economic Council www. gpec. org 800- 421- 4732 Help for moving a business to Phoenix or expanding it. Arizona Department of Commerce Small Business Services www. azcommerce. com/ BusAsst/ SmallBiz 602- 771- 1100 Information on everything for small business needs. Maricopa Community Colleges Small Business Development Center www. maricopasbdc. com 480- 784- 0590 Free business counseling and resources as well as low- cost seminars and workshops. Arizona Technology Council www. aztechcouncil. org 602- 343- TECH ( 8324) The largest technology association in Arizona, representing the interests of technology companies statewide. business, the Greater Phoenix area is the best place in the nation for recruitment and attraction, says Expansion Management magazine. On top of that, it's the third youngest region in the U. S. with an average age of 33. In fact, the number one reason businesses relocate to Phoenix is the ability to get young talent, said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Looking for educated workers? U. S. News & World Report ranked the Thunderbird School of Global Management's M. B. A. in international business No. 1. Add to that Arizona State University, the nation's largest public university with more than 67,000 students. The Maricopa Community Colleges have an enrollment of about 276,000, which prepare students for further university study and also provide job training. And that's just a handful of local schools. Businesses also flock to Phoenix is because it's close to the economic powerhouse of California, it's along the CANAMEX Corridor for trade and it has a centrally located international airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor. " Really what you have is the stage set for Phoenix to compete in the global economy," said David Drennon, director of community and public affairs for the Arizona Department of Commerce. " They can connect anywhere in the world." Affordable and accessible All of these advantages would mean little if businesses couldn't operate profitably. But economic factors are also one of the main reasons for relocating, Broome said. " On key indicators like workers compensation and unemployment insurance, we're one of the top three markets in terms of affordability," Broome said. The market in Arizona is deregulated, too, and it's a right- to- work state with a low union presence. For individuals, taxes and prices remain affordable as well, and the housing market is reasonably priced and diverse. " You get to choose your lifestyle here," said Diane Scherer, CEO of the Phoenix Association of Realtors. Neighborhoods contain everything from $ 100,000 condos to multi- million-dollar mansions, from resort living to single- family homes in quiet suburban photoS: The ARizona Republic
2009 GREATER PHOENIX ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LIVING HERE 27 business areas. Also popping up are high- rise condos in the urban centers of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe where resident walk to cafes, shopping and cultural and sporting events. It's even easier to get around now, too, thanks to a new light rail line that opened in December of 2008 linking Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. New businesses along the line are thriving, Scherer said, and will encourage denser housing. " We're becoming a real big city," Scherer said. An extensive freeway system with no toll lanes and several high- occupancy vehicle lanes — including new ones along the heavily traveled Loop 101 through Scottsdale and the East Valley — make commuting less painful than in other places. Extended welcome Big or small, getting involved is a key to success in business. Few places are as open and welcoming as the Greater Phoenix area. " People move here from all over the United States," Broome said. " We're accustomed to and comfortable with managing new people." Families and executives are immediately received in the community and welcomed on boards and in leadership roles. Foreign- born residents can find centers, temples, mosques, groups and businesses that serve their cultural needs. Resources are many, from chambers of commerce to mentoring groups for everyone, including specifically women and minorities, said Susan Lentz, associate director of the Maricopa Small Business Development Center. Grants are available, too. " I think that Arizona really is trying hard to give opportunities to everybody," Lentz said. In a good year, the Greater Phoenix area sees 12,000 new enterprises. And close to 50 percent of jobs are at companies with fewer than 500 employees, Broome said. Service, construction and tourism are still strongholds in the region, but solar, biotech, aerospace and defense all are big, too. Even in down economies, interest in the Greater Phoenix remains keen. " There is a tremendous dynamism in this region and state that's going to be a big draw for businesses," Broome said. " There is a tremendous dynamism in this region and state that's going to be a big draw for businesses." — Barry Broome, president and CEO, Greater Phoenix Economic Council photoS: The ARizona Republic ABOVE: The U. S. Post Office building in downtown Phoenix was constructed in 1936. BELOW: The Hotel San Carlos opened in 1928.