U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said in a media round table Wednesday at SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center that 40 percent of growth in the U.S. gross domestic product has come from innovation.
“We’re the envy of the world,” she said. “We have countries around the world asking us to please bring our American knowledge of how to be a successful entrepreneur in an innovative ecosystem.”
Her role focuses on everything from manufacturing and skills development to how to best serve innovators in America through the patent and trade office.
“We work through the National Institute of Standards and Technology to help set the standard of new innovative products,” she said.
Pritzker is a leader in the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship initiative. President Barack Obama chose her to be chair last October during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“I’m working with 11 of our American entrepreneurs,” she said. “It’s a wonderful program that works with our household-named entrepreneurs. We work both domestically and globally.”
Pritzker visited ASU SkySong to look at entrepreneurship opportunities within the University. She said SkySong is extraordinary in the sense that it not only possesses a breadth of activity, but also gets a lot of support from ASU.
“I’ve been to at least eight incubator accelerators in the United States,” she said. “SkySong is unique because ASU’s extraordinary commitment both in terms of people supporting SkySong and its physical presence as well as its diversity.”
SkySong hosts a plethora of global businesses and an entrepreneurial community that links technology, research, education and entrepreneurship to place ASU and greater Phoenix in a better standing in the economy.
SkySong-based companies range from early startup companies to larger enterprises such as Ticketmaster.
Brittany Kauffman, communications consultant for the public relations firm Evans Communications, helped facilitate Pritzker’s visit.
“She has been going around the whole country viewing these incubators,” she said. “SkySong is one of the places she’s toured.”
SkySong spokesman Tom Evans said Pritzker’s visit might have something to do with her relationship with Sharon Harper, president & CEO of Plaza Companies, which is affiliated with SkySong.
“They have a long-standing relationship,” he said.
Pritzker said she applauds SkySong for its incredible engagement of the local business community and its willingness to work overseas. She once worked with ASU employees to bring entrepreneurial education in Malaysia.
Pritzker has known SkySong since it was a private sector and was involved in some of the earlier developments before her job at the White House.
She said she praises ASU for adapting and supporting their concept.
“They have 25 people who work here to make SkySong successful,” she said. “To bring innovators, businesses, universities and local community colleges, that’s something I really want to see them expand. It’s a win-win for innovators, it’s a win for students, it’s a win for the University, it’s a win for the private sector, it’s a win for the economy (and) it’s exciting.”
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow her on twitter @kelciegrega