Explore Nogales, an binational overview of innovation, entrepreneurship and workforce development

April 28, 2023
Stephanie Bermudez

VL Explore Nogales 


"Valley Leadership gives Arizonans the tools to solve challenges together. VL and its programs are guided by the Principles of Doing. We believe the most effective leaders operate with integrity, build trust, and work with a team mindset. When they do, it creates actions – being driven to do – that put the needs of Arizona first. We then invite alumni to put their knowledge to the test for the betterment of the community as part of Impact Maker –a collaborative venture led by VL. Learn more about VL, its Principles of Doing and Impact Maker at valleyleadership.org.


"Explore takes people out of their community –and their comfort zone –to get to know the great diversity of the state and how our most pressing issues show up in rural, urban, suburban and Native communities. Participants will expand their perspective, knowledge of the issues and have the time and space to forge strong relationships and build connections in all corners of the state. Our goal is to immerse people in Arizona experiences to evolve their understanding of the state and their role in making it a better place for everyone."

-Valley Leadership Explore

Nogales, Startup Unidos's Birthplace

What have we done for Nogales?

Small Business & Entrepreneurship Support Programs

As a result of recovery efforts to businesses affected by the Pandemic of COVID-19, we are providing support thanks to the ARPA Funding. As part of the AZNavigator program, small businesses may access no-cost technical assistance on a variety of topics, depending on their business needs.

As of March 2023:
- 49 people billed (89 services total given) for Santa Cruz County
- 78% are Hispanic or Latino; 55% are Women
- 65% are from Nogales

Waste Not (now Waste Binn) & NOGECO
Youth to combat food waste: high school students address food waste in the community and develop viable business ideas 

Nogales youth group aims to eliminate waste

Waste Not Mentorship Roundtable: Somos Parte de Algo Grande

NOGECO’s Shift Day Success: How a Youth Border Startup Won $5,000 in Sustainability Pitch Contest

How a Youth Border Startup Created a Must-Have Everyday Product from Diverted Food Waste

Waste Binn: Innovación transfronteriza en manejo del desperdicio de alimentos

Waste Binn y el impacto en las juventudes transfronterizas

Waste Binn: adaptación y desafíos

Waste Binn: Binational Waste Innovation

Sostenibilidad en Sonora: retos y desafíos

- Sostenibilidad en Arizona: más allá de los retos medioambientales  

Santa Cruz County's Digital Infrastructure
Supports for Small Businesses, Artists and Non-Profits. Startup Unidos developed and implemented the county’s first small business outreach strategy and marketing plan to support small businesses, in collaboration with the county’s ARPA program. Startup Unidos provided comprehensive bilingual radio, social media, and traditional print media strategy, messaging and execution, and developed and supported small business workshop content development, delivery and logistics. This enabled local small businesses and nonprofits to successfully access information about county small business supports available to them.

Borderoots: Education & Community 

Borderoots highlights the creative, innovative, and influential changemakers living and working along the 3,145 km long border line. We do this by educating, inspiring, mobilizing, and connecting. We give borderlanders a platform to find and express their voices, have experiences, share knowledge, and ultimately, the insights to be innovative in their communities. Startup Unidos sees challenges at the border as opportunities. SU spans across boundaries with a unique binational and bilingual approach that unites diverse networks from industry, government, academia, and grassroots movements to bring culturally-anchored entrepreneurship support and innovative workforce development to overlooked border communities.

Workforce Development

Innovation, Tech, Cross-border Events 

- December 2017: Startup Unidos and @techstars 1st ever U.S. / Mexico Startup Weekend

- October 2018: Latinx Startup Weekend Tucson 

- February 2018: Startup Weekend Phoenix reaching dozen entrepreneurs from Ambos Nogales, Arizona and across Sonora, Mexico

- December 2019: Startup Weekend Sustainability Nogales 

- June 2019: Latinx in Tech Startup Weekend Tucson 

- November 2020: Borderlands USA-MEX Startup Weekend Online

- April 2022: Startup Weekend Nogales Social Impact

- September 2022: Documentary Segment for  LTX CONNECT Voces de la Comunidad: Stephanie Bermudez en Nogales

- July 2022: AZNavigator Workshops in Nogales, AZ (Innovate without Borders. Career Development, Community Outreach and Digital Infrastructure + Arts and Culture for Economic and Youth Development @tonyplak + Creative Entrepreneurship as the Artist Side Gig)

- November 2022: TENWEST Panel ( Representing Nogales)

- October 2022: Universidad Tecnologica de Nogales, Sonora - Vinculacion

- December 2022: AZNavigator Workshop in Foro Binacional de Mujeres Emprendedoras by Red Consular

- March 2023: Startup Weekend Youth Hermosillo

And we are just getting started...

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