Economic Growth in Maricopa County, AZ: Strategies and Successes

As an expert in economic development, I have seen firsthand the impressive growth and potential of Maricopa County, Arizona. With a population of over 4.5 million people, it is the fourth most populous county in the United States and one of the fastest-growing. This is due in large part to the county's strong economy and diverse range of industries. In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to promote economic development in Maricopa County, with various initiatives and programs in place to support businesses and drive growth.

The Role of Maricopa County Economic Development

At the forefront of these efforts is the Maricopa County Economic Development Department (MCEDD).

As the primary agency responsible for promoting economic development in the county, its mission is to attract and retain businesses, create jobs, and foster a vibrant and sustainable economy. To achieve these goals, the department works closely with local governments, businesses, and community organizations. One of MCEDD's key initiatives is the Maricopa County Business Development Program. This program provides resources and support to businesses looking to expand or relocate to the county. From site selection assistance to workforce development and financing options, this program offers a comprehensive range of services to help businesses thrive in Maricopa County.

Targeted Industries for Growth

In order to focus its efforts and resources, MCEDD has identified several targeted industries for growth in Maricopa County.

These include aerospace and defense, advanced manufacturing, healthcare and bioscience, technology and innovation, and tourism. These industries have been carefully chosen based on their potential for job creation, economic impact, and alignment with the county's strengths and resources. To support these targeted industries, MCEDD has established partnerships with industry associations and organizations, as well as educational institutions and workforce development agencies. These partnerships help to ensure that the county has a skilled and qualified workforce to meet the needs of these growing industries.

Small Business Support

Small businesses are the backbone of any economy, and Maricopa County is no exception. In fact, small businesses make up over 90% of all businesses in the county.

To support these businesses, MCEDD has several programs and initiatives in place. The Small Business Assistance Program provides resources and support to small businesses, including access to capital, business counseling, and training programs. The program also offers assistance with government contracting and certification for minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses. In addition, MCEDD partners with local organizations such as the Arizona Small Business Association and the Greater Phoenix SCORE to provide mentoring and networking opportunities for small business owners.

Incentives for Businesses

To attract new businesses and encourage existing businesses to expand in Maricopa County, MCEDD offers a variety of incentive programs. These include tax credits, grants, and other financial incentives for businesses that create jobs or invest in the county. The Foreign Trade Zone Program is one such incentive program that allows businesses to import goods duty-free for manufacturing or distribution purposes. This can provide significant cost savings for businesses operating in Maricopa County. In addition, MCEDD works closely with local governments to offer property tax abatements and other incentives for businesses that invest in designated areas of the county, such as Opportunity Zones or Enterprise Zones.

Tourism Promotion

Tourism is a major industry in Maricopa County, with over 20 million visitors each year.

To promote tourism and drive economic growth, MCEDD partners with the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau to market the county as a premier travel destination. The bureau's Destination Development Program works to attract major events, conferences, and conventions to the county, which bring in millions of dollars in revenue and support local businesses. In addition, the program focuses on developing new attractions and amenities to enhance the visitor experience and keep tourists coming back.


Maricopa County, AZ is a thriving and dynamic region with a strong economy and a diverse range of industries. The initiatives and programs in place to promote economic development in the county are a testament to its commitment to creating a business-friendly environment and driving growth. With targeted industries, small business support, incentives for businesses, and tourism promotion, Maricopa County is well-positioned for continued economic success.

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