Greater Phoenix continuing to lead in DE&I with public-private collaboration moving region forward
Thinkzilla, a culturally aware brand engagement firm based in Atlanta, today announces plans to open a new office in Scottsdale, Ariz. where it will hire 25 employees in the first six months. The female and minority-owned company selected Greater Phoenix because of the region’s robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, diverse demographic and talent base, and leadership in advancing strategic diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. These efforts align with Thinkzilla’s goals of providing equitable opportunity by expanding resources and knowledge for minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.
“As we broaden our supplier diversity, and diversity and inclusion programs across the country, we look forward to helping more companies boost economic empowerment, find meaningful social engagement and manage social equity initiatives,” said Thinkzilla CEO Dr. Velma Trayham. “We are incredibly proud of our track record of helping diverse businesses, communities and individuals, and look forward to connecting with the Scottsdale community to grow innovation and opportunities.”
Thinkzilla will lease space at SkySong, the Arizona State University (ASU) Scottsdale Innovation Center. SkySong attracts cutting-edge and innovative companies while integrating the resources of ASU with the opportunities of the private sector. In April 2021, the City of Scottsdale unanimously adopted an anti-discrimination ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.
“Dr. Trayham’s company, Thinkzilla, as well as her entrepreneur accelerator program to support minority women as they scale their businesses, aligns with Scottsdale’s mission to support and attract businesses that promote diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega. “The City adopted economic development strategic plan and our anti-discrimination ordinance lets businesses know that Scottsdale is a destination for innovative and diverse companies like Thinkzilla, who we are thrilled to welcome to their new home at SkySong.”
Natural synergies exist between Thinkzilla and ASU as seen through the university’s leadership in DE&I and entrepreneurship and innovation. For the sixth year in a row, U.S. News & World Report named ASU the most innovative university in the nation. The J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute serves as connecting and collaborating resources for entrepreneurs at all stages across ASU and Greater Phoenix, which helped lead Thinkzilla to SkySong.
“The addition of Thinkzilla to the SkySong community presents new opportunities for important and meaningful collaborations throughout the Valley,” said Grace O’Sullivan, Vice President of Corporate Engagement and Strategic Partnerships at Arizona State University. “We’re delighted to welcome Thinkzilla to Arizona.”
The Arizona State of Black Business March 2021 Report notes, ‘Black/African Americans have the highest percentage growth rate in the state. Black/African Americans face unique barriers to entrepreneurship and there is a need to increase support for Black-owned businesses including access to capital and direct financing pathways, startup resources, education, collaborative research, and assistance in identifying and navigating business opportunities.’ Thinkzilla reinforces that inclusive, equitable businesses and communities drive prosperity, and by building, managing, and bringing awareness to those programs and initiatives further supports underserved and underrepresented communities.
“Thinkzilla is an exciting addition to Greater Phoenix’s robust service and business sector that will help propel our innovation-centered economy forward and provide resources and knowledge to our growing minority-owned businesses population,” said Chris Camacho, president & CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. “Our diversity is our greatest strength. Creating opportunity and an equitable community is accomplished only through inclusive growth, and we look forward to working with Thinkzilla, the City of Scottsdale and ASU to support their continued success.”
The Coppola-Cheney Group and Lee & Associates Arizona assisted with the real estate transaction. Plaza Companies is the master developer of SkySong, in partnership with University Realty, the City of Scottsdale and Holualoa Companies.
“We are pleased to welcome Thinkzilla to the SkySong family,” said Sharon Harper, chairman and CEO of Plaza Companies. “This is the kind of forward-thinking, innovative organization that will grow and thrive in the SkySong environment, and we are gratified they chose SkySong for their presence in the Phoenix area.”