More About So AZ Made
Our vision for the SoAZ Made program, in partnership with Visit Tucson, Startup Tucson, and the Tucson City of Gastronomy, is to create a thriving local food economy in Southern Arizona, where local artisans and entrepreneurs can showcase their unique products and experiences to a wider audience. Together, we believe that by supporting these businesses, we can help preserve the rich culinary heritage of the region, and promote a stronger sense of community and connection among local consumers.
Our goal is to foster a sustainable an equitable food system, where everyone has access to fresh, locally-sourced and locally-made products, and where food entrepreneurs are able to build successful and fulfilling careers doing what they love. We envision a Southern Arizona where the local food scene is vibrant and diverse, and where consumers are proud to support the artisans and entrepreneurs who make it all possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
About the Program
What is SoAZ Made?
SoAZ Made is a platform that celebrates the culinary talent and products of the Tucson region. Our platform helps promote local food artisans and food experiences and increase e-commerce sales.
How can I support local businesses through SoAz Made?
By using our platform, you are already helping to support local businesses. When you discover a product or artisan you like, visit their website or social media channels to learn more, purchase their products, and share their products with friends and family.
Why can't I buy through this site?
The SoAz Made program is a platform for local food entrepreneurs to showcase their products and experiences to a wider audience. While you cannot purchase products directly from the microsite, the platform provides information about local businesses and their products, and directs you to their websites where you can make purchases directly from the vendor. This allows you to support local businesses while also having access to a wider range of products and experiences.
What are the product category definitions?
Here are the category definitions to help you find the product you're looking for:
- Fresh: fruits & vegetables, dairy, eggs, cheese, & ice cream, meat, seafood, & meat products
- Pantry: nuts & baking, spices & condiments, grains & pasta
- Ready-to-Eat: cookies, snacks, chocolate, & candies, bread & bakery, meals to take home
- Beverages: coffee, tea, fresh juice, wine, beer, cocktails & mixers
- Non-food Products: essential oils, herbal remedies, home goods, skincare and beauty, and much more.
- Heritage: the origins of plants and animals and their dispersal, the sites where people first cultivated plants and domesticated animals, as well as the earliest locations around the world where people first processed, prepared, sold, and ate foods.
- Food Experiences: U-pick, educational, day trips, & wine tours
What is a heritage ingredient?
A heritage ingredient is an ingredient tied to the history and cultures of southern Arizona and the Sonoran Desert as defined by Tucson City of Gastronomy.
I'm an entrepreneur, how do I become a vendor?
To learn more about the program and apply, please visit startuptucson.com/soazmade
What's the Goal of SoAZ Made?
The goal of SoAZ Made is to support and promote local food entrepreneurs in the Southern Arizona region. By showcasing their products and experiences to a wider audience, the program aims to increase awareness and sales of locally-sourced and locally-made products, while also fostering a stronger sense of community and supporting the local economy.
How were vendors selected for the platform?
Vendors for the SoAZ Made platform were selected based on a set of criteria, including being locally-owned and operated, selling fresh or value-added agricultural products, food-related experiences, or using heritage ingredients, providing a local experience, and being headquartered in Southern Arizona. The program aims to provide a diverse range of vendors that represent the local food and beverage scene in the region, and to promote businesses that align with the program's mission and values.
How can I recommend a product or service be added?
If you would like to recommend a product or service to be added to the SoAZ Made platform, you can contact the Startup Tucson through their website or social media channels. The team welcomes suggestions and is always looking for new and exciting vendors to add to the platform. Please note that all vendors are subject to the selection criteria mentioned earlier, and not all recommendations may be accepted.
Why can I only see three products or services per page?
To ensure that each vendor has an equal opportunity to showcase their products and experiences on the SoAZ Made platform, a limit of three products or services per vendor is set for each page. This also helps to prevent the platform from becoming overwhelming or cluttered, and allows visitors to browse through the platform more easily. However, visitors can view additional products and services by clicking on the vendor's profile and visiting their website directly.
How often will the vendor list be updated?
The vendor list for the SoAZ Made platform will be updated on a regular basis, as new vendors are added and existing vendors may update their profiles with new products or experiences. The team behind the program is committed to keeping the platform up-to-date and providing visitors with the most current and accurate information about local food entrepreneurs in the Southern Arizona region. However, please note that updates may not occur on a fixed schedule and can vary depending on the availability of new vendors and updates from existing ones.
Where did the idea for SoAZ made come from?
The idea for SoAZ Made came from a desire to promote and support local food entrepreneurs in the Southern Arizona region. The program was developed as a collaboration between Startup Tucson, Visit Tucson, and the Tucson City of Gastronomy, who recognized the importance of showcasing the diverse range of products and experiences that are available in the area, and wanted to create a platform that could help these businesses reach a wider audience. The goal of the program is to foster a stronger sense of community, support the local economy, and encourage consumers to choose locally-sourced and locally-made products.
What partners helped make this site possible?
The SoAZ Made program was made possible through a collaboration between Startup Tucson, Visit Tucson, and the Tucson City of Gastronomy. These partners recognized the importance of supporting local food entrepreneurs in the Southern Arizona region, and came together to create a platform that could help showcase their products and experiences to a wider audience. The program was developed with the support of these organizations, along with input and feedback from the local community, and continues to be managed through their ongoing partnership.
About the Partners
Who is Startup Tucson?
Startup Tucson was founded in 2012 on the heels of one of the first Startup Weekends in Tucson. Since that time, the innovation community has grown tremendously with more funding, support organizations, accelerators, and incubators popping up every year.
Startup Tucson has continued to serve as an advocate, educator, and connector for entrepreneurs. We serve over 3,000 entrepreneurs each year with over 300 active members in our network membership. Our alumni have brought over 44 million dollars of investment and over 400 new jobs in the short years since our founding.
Startup Tucson is also the founding organization of TENWEST Impact Festival, a festival celebrating the intersection of innovation, culture, technology, and social impact. The festival grew to 14,000 attendees in 2019 and continues to be a central hub of thought-leadership in Southern Arizona.
In recent years, Startup Tucson has continued to mature as an organization, building customized programs to serve the needs of a wide variety of entrepreneurs, including creative, food, and small businesses. Our positioning at “the front of the funnel” helps us attract entrepreneurs and then connect them to the resources, mentors, or organizations that best fit their needs.
We focus intentionally on creating broad, inclusive services to bring more diversity into the innovation pipeline. We work collaboratively across the innovation ecosystem to lift up and support our partners, with the collective goal of inspiring and elevating entrepreneurs to create and innovate in order to build a more equitable, vibrant, and forward-looking economy.
What is Startup Tucson's Role in the Project?
Startup Tucson plays an important role in the SoAZ Made program as one of the key partners involved in the project. Their primary role in the program is to work with Visit Tucson to coordinate with vendors, maintain vendor profiles, and oversee the development and management of the platform. This involves identifying new vendors to include in the program, updating existing vendor profiles with new information, and ensuring that the platform is functioning smoothly and providing value to both vendors and consumers. In addition, Startup Tucson also provides ongoing support and resources to local food entrepreneurs in the region, helping to foster a thriving local food economy and create a stronger sense of community.
Who is Visit Tucson?
Visit Tucson is a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization that works to attract leisure visitors, group meetings, sports events, travel media, and films, commercials, and photo shoots to the metro Tucson region. We are the official destination marketing organization for the City of Tucson, Pima County, and Town of Oro Valley and partner with more than 500 business members throughout the community.
Overnight travel generated from these activities creates direct spending and tax revenue for our community. Taxes paid by travelers who visit metro Tucson offset our state and local taxes and help pay for public safety initiatives, new infrastructure, and community services. Because of visitor spending in 2019, every Pima County family had its tax burden reduced by $530. Nearly 25,000 of our neighbors and their families are supported by work in the tourism industry in Pima County.
What is Visit Tucson's role in the project?
Visit Tucson is a key partner in the SoAZ Made program, and their primary role is to host and maintain the platform on their website. They worked with Startup Tucson to develop the program and offered to host it on their website to increase traffic and exposure for local food entrepreneurs in the Southern Arizona region. Visit Tucson is responsible for maintaining the site and ensuring that it is functioning properly, and also provides ongoing marketing and promotional support to help drive traffic to the platform. Their involvement in the program is part of their broader mission to promote Tucson as a destination for tourism and travel, and to support the local economy by highlighting the unique and diverse experiences available in the region.
Who is Tucson City of Gastronomy?
On 15 December 2015, Tucson, Arizona, became the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy designated in the United States, joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).
Tucson City of Gastronomy (TCoG) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a board of directors formed in 2016 to manage the UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation of Tucson and its southern Arizona foodshed. Its mission is “Growing a sustainable desert community by supporting our creative food cultures.” Board members represent key stakeholders in the community and local food system.
What is Tucson City of Gastronomy's role in the project?
The Tucson City of Gastronomy played an important role in the creation of the SoAZ Made program. As a key partner in the project, their primary role was to help identify and recommend local artisans and entrepreneurs who would be a good fit for the platform, based on their expertise and commitment to showcasing the unique culinary heritage of Southern Arizona. In addition, the Tucson City of Gastronomy helped with the big idea creation of the site, providing valuable input and feedback on the development of the platform and helping to shape its vision and goals. The organization's involvement in the project reflects their ongoing commitment to promoting and preserving the region's culinary heritage, and supporting local food entrepreneurs in their efforts to share their unique products and experiences with a wider audience.
How can I contact Startup Tucson with additional questions?
You can contact Startup Tucson through their website, email, or phone.