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The effort to generate quality jobs with wages that allow our residents to find housing takes many different methods.

Business and entrepreneurship are generators of exceptional creativity, ingenuity and effort. Historically, many of the great advances of our society have come from a combination of entrepreneurship and government working together to address common problems.

It is with this in mind that the City of Flagstaff, with multiple divisions participating, Moonshot and Northern Arizona University (NAU) are working collaboratively on the Innovate Waste Challenge. This competition provides funding from the Economic Development portion of the Bed, Board and Beverage tax to support businesses that have developed a way to address city goals in the community through a for-profit enterprise.

Whether it involves diverting waste from the landfill, conserving water or helping reduce climate impacts, if an entrepreneur has an idea for how to address the problem while creating jobs and wealth, we want to support that. The businesses that are selected as winners can receive a portion of the $30,000 challenge to help their idea scale into a reality that makes Flagstaff better, provides real public benefit, and also creates jobs and prosperity.

The competition is aligned with Moonshot’s Rural AZ Pitch Competition tour stop event here in Flagstaff, where businesses pitch their concept for products and services in an effort to show they have the best idea. This effort has helped multiple businesses in the past to scale and grow into their benefit to the community. If you have an idea for how to make a difference while creating jobs, this may be your chance. To learn more, go to https://www.chooseflagstaff.com/innovate-waste-the-carbon-neutrality-challenge/.

In a separate program, the Sustainability and Economic Development programs at the city have teamed up to bring a Green Business Boot Camp to the Flagstaff area. Local First Arizona has delivered these educational trainings in other parts of the state, and the City of Flagstaff wants to make them available to our businesses as well. We all know it is expensive to run a business, but the Green Business Boot Camp is intended to help businesses reduce their energy and water use by up to 20%. Reducing ongoing costs for the long term is great for businesses, and reducing energy and water use is great for our community and the Flagstaff City Council’s Water Conservation and Climate Action goals. This is another example of how sustainability and economic development can work together for a more prosperous and resilient world. If you or your business are interested, you can learn more at https://localfirstaz.com/green-boot-camp.

The effort to generate quality jobs with wages that allow our residents to find housing takes many different methods. It is clear that our community values finding ways to do that which also advance the green economy and create tangible public benefit on the council’s declared goals. These programs are examples of two methods to support business with dedicated BBB economic development revenue and sustainability funds while simultaneously providing ways to help entrepreneurship generate creative and flexible ways to solve community problems. It is important to continue to show that economic development and sustainability goals are not contrary to each other but can truly align to create a more sustainable and resilient future for Flagstaff. FBN

By David McIntire

David McIntire is the community investment director for the City of Flagstaff.

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