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$50k grant to Startup Tucson supports Latin American biz connections

Startup Tucson has won a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help Latin American startups create jobs in Tucson through a new project called Thryve Latin America

The five-year-old Startup Tucson was one of three successful applicants in Arizona and the only one in Tucson to win a grant from the SBA's Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, which aims to help boost the economic impact of these job creators. There were 68 winners nationwide selected from 400 applicants.

"This award from the SBA is critical to strengthening our capacity to create jobs in Tucson in collaboration with high-potential startups seeking to launch here in the U.S.," said Justin Williams, CEO and founder of the nonprofit small-business training organization. 

"Tucson is an attractive destination for high growth startups from across Latin America to locate, due to our proximity to the border, cultural and language diversity, and strong entrepreneurial ecosystem," Williams said.

Startup Tucson was granted nearly $1.5 million in 2014 by the SBA for its Thryve Next entrepreneurial training program.

Tucson's connection with Mexico was strengthened in August when the Tucson Airport Authority announced that Mexican airline Aeromar will begin flights between Tucson International Airport and Hermosillo, Los Mochis, Mazatlan and Guadalajara on Oct. 3.

The other Arizona winners of the SBA awards were the BioAccel (Southwest Commercialization Center) in Phoenix and Native American Business Incubator Network in Flagstaff.

Startup Tucson offers a co-working space for entrepreneurs at CoLab At the Pioneer, 17 E. Pennington St. It also hosts events, such as the 54-hour, Sept. 9-11 Startup Weekend, at which people can test a startup idea and meet potential business partners.

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