Thursday, December 25, 2008

AZIGG Global Business Fair Jan 12th at 5:30pm

At the next AZIGG event, the government, education and business resources that help Phoenix-area companies grow globally will be available on a walking tour. The AZIGG Global Business Fair is being held across the 27th floor at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey on the evening of January 12th starting at 5:30pm.

Business owners considering global expansion in 2009 should attend.

Monday, January 12th, 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Location: Squire, Sanders & Dempsey
(Two Renaissance Square, 40 N Central Avenue, 27th Floor, Phoenix)
Investment $40 ($50 after January 6th) includes dinner and hosted bar.


Here are the organizations that will have a table at the AZIGG Global Business Fair.

Association, Non-Profit and Government Resources
Arizona Department of Commerce
Arizona District Export Council
Arizona State University
Arizona Technology Council
City of Phoenix, International Development
Greater Phoenix Economic Council
Greater Phoenix SCORE
Indo-American Chamber of Commerce
Maricopa County Small Biz Enterprise
Maricopa County Workforce Development
New Global Citizens
Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations
Thunderbird School of Global Management
US Export Assistance Center
World Affairs Council of Arizona

Int’l Consulates
Consulate of Canada
Consulate of Mexico

Int’l Businesses and Service Providers

Asian Bank of Arizona
BizLogic Technologies
Colonia Bank
Eclectic Communications
ESI Global Logistics
Growth Nation
MSS Technologies
Renaissance Executive Forums
RSM McGladrey
SLK Holdings
Solugenix Corporation
Sonoran Bank
Squire, Sanders & Dempsey
TechOne IT
The John Adam Show (KFNN, 1510)
Transperfect Translations
VistageWeber Advantage Consulting

More information here:

Come join us on the international walking tour on January 12th!

All the best, Doug,

AZIGG Event at SkySong Explored International Growth

On December 1st at AZIGG, five entrepreneurial executives discussed how business owners can scale their Arizona-based businesses using global resources. The discussion was attended by 120 internationalists including guests Allanah Isherwood (British Consulate, LA) and Rick Stephenson (Canadian Consulate).

Abhay Jajoo. Eupath incubates overseas operations for firms looking to save money on software development, legal contract management and analytics.
Cliff Schertz. Tiempo Development lowers clients' costs with software development and QA services supplied from facilities in Northern Mexico.

Dave Rice. True Cloud helps emerging and medium-sized companies by providing "Less IT, More Growth".
Sarit Kommineni. SLK helps small businesses reduce cost and scale their growth through outsourced medical transcription, software development and e-learning.

Sharad Mankapure. BizLogic Technologies offers outsourced IT support, personal assistance, data processing and recruiting help to mid-sized firms.
Photography by Laird Brown
Happy Holidays!
Doug Bruhnke, Founder of AZIGG

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Grow Fast in a Flat World: Scaling Your Business

The next Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG) is December 1st at 7:30am at SkySong. The topic: Grow Fast in a Flat World: Scaling Your Business, with these expert panelists:

Dave Rice, CEO of TrueCloud

Abhay Jajoo, Managing Director of Eupath

Cliff Schertz, President and CEO of Tiempo Development

Sharad Mankapure, Director of BizLogic Technologies

Sarit Kommineni, CEO of SLK Holdings

Grow Fast in a Flat World: Scaling Your Business

Monday, December 1st, 7:30am - 9:00am
Location: ASU SkySong, 1475 N Scottsdale Road, Suite 200
(Southeast corner of Scottsdale Rd and McDowell)

Map to SkySong
Investment $10 Includes Coffee, Juice and Snacks

These turbulent times call for creative methods to grow. This month at AZIGG we have 5 top entrepreneurs and executives of fast-growing companies who are experts in helping companies scale their businesses using global resources - through good times and bad. For more info and to sign-up:

Dave Rice - CEO of TrueCloud. Dave is a brilliant technologist who helps emerging and medium-sized companies scale their operations using cloud computing solutions like Oracle's NetSuite. TrueCloud provides "Less IT, More Growth". Before starting TrueCloud, Dave was the CIO of Insight, and he is on the current Board for AZIGG.

Abhay Jajoo - Managing Director of Eupath. Abhay is the talented and entrepreneurial heart for Eupath - a company that is the leader in incubating and establishing overseas operations for firms looking to save money on software development, legal contract management and analytics. Clients of Eupath have a need to keep their work 'in-house'.

Cliff Schertz - President and CEO of Tiempo Development. Cliff is a sharp serial entrepreneurial who lowers clients' costs with software development and QA services supplied from facilities in Northern Mexico. Tiempo has developed an agile methodology that saves money and time, and they are the leader in regional near-shoring.

Sharad Mankapure - Director of BizLogic Technologies. Sharad is the talented and successful entrepreneur for several local firms. One of his companies BizLogic Technologies offers outsourced IT support, personal assistance, data processing and recruiting help to business owners of mid-sized firms and physicians offices in the Southwest.

Sarit Kommineni - CEO of SLK Holdings. Sarit is also a talented and very successful serial entrepreneur with multiple firms. He helps small businesses reduce cost and scale their growth through the use of several offerings for medical transcription, software development and e-learning. Sarit has an expertise in financial services and small business.

All the best, Doug

Doug Bruhnke, Scottsdale (,

Friday, November 7, 2008

Arizona's Foreign Direct Investment

This article by Doug Bruhnke appeared in the November 7, 2008 Phoenix Business Journal.

For every $1 Arizona spends on attracting non-US companies to establish operations in the state, it gains more than $37 in Foreign Direct Investment, according to Rod Miller, VP of International for Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). Miller told an October Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG) audience that payback can be higher than 100 to 1, and there are other benefits like ongoing tax revenue.

“In 2007-2008, GPEC found ways to keep Foreign Direct Investment in Arizona improving despite last year’s spending cut by the legislature,” says Miller. “We need investment to capture strategic industry growth for Arizona like Germany-based solar companies. In the current environment, increasing our investment in economic development initiatives will support a quicker and stronger economic recovery.”

Yet Arizona is in the bottom half of US states in attracting Foreign Direct Investment because it spends less on marketing per capita than the national average. GPEC and the Arizona Department of Commerce are making progress, but more opportunity is available. Nonetheless there are positive indicators that Arizona’s global profile is improving, and other investment mechanisms are supporting globalization of Arizona-based businesses.

Firms are taking unilateral action to invest in the global economy. That’s not an option for everyone, and those proceeding to enter the global market should take carefully considered actions that are well-funded. Arizona has funding resources available to support growth.

Early-stage firms presenting to investors at the Scottsdale-based Invest Southwest Capital Conference sponsored by The Miller Group ( have raised over $300 million. This year there’s a higher level of interest by companies to participate, and the conference will include a company based outside the US for the first time.

“Submissions by early-stage firms increased this year by 20%,” says Dave Bittner, Chairman of Invest Southwest and CEO of Beanstalk CFO. “In addition to Arizona-based companies, the Invest Southwest selection committee chose companies from two other states and Mexico, indicating that word about funding opportunities in Arizona is getting out”.

Arizona companies looking to grow globally are well advised to seek out experts who have “been there, done that” with international operations, marketing and funding. One community asset that small and medium-sized businesses can turn to is SCORE, which in addition to being an alliance partner for Invest Southwest, offers business seminars and free counseling.

“Experienced volunteers at Greater Phoenix SCORE mentor and counsel small businesses in each aspect of global expansion”, says Chet Ross, Chairman of Greater Phoenix SCORE and District Director for SCORE in Arizona ( “A large portion of our funding comes from the US Small Business Administration (SBA), making SCORE the ideal source for guidance on loans – including export loans – guaranteed on behalf of the US government by the SBA.”

Several options for export loans exist. The United States Export-Import Bank was established in 1934 to guarantee payment to American businesses on exports, handling the financial risk that commercial lenders will not assume. This reduces the overall risk for US firms selling globally. A variety of export credit insurance and loan guarantee tools exists to encourage US exports.

“International risk management tools for getting paid and for growing sales have high value and complexity”, says Carlos Emmerman, Trade Banking Director at Sonoran Bank. Carlos headed international banking offices for Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase before joining Sonoran Bank. “We sort through the complexity and help small and medium-sized businesses with decisions like when to approach the Export-Import Bank. We’re positioned as the premier community bank for the growing international business market in Arizona.”

The over-riding goal of the Export-Import Bank is to support the growth of US businesses by insuring against non-payment, offering open account payment terms and eliminating the need for expensive letters of credit or pre-payment requirements. The key for any business is selecting the right tool to support their needs.

“Exporting presents a unique set of challenges”, says Adam Keck, Vice President for Bibby Financial. Bibby is a provider of business cash flow solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises, including factoring, export receivables and purchase order financing. The company has been around for over 200 years.

“An exporter often must wait 90 days or more for payment from their international customers,” Keck continues. “In addition, foreign banking systems can be nearly impossible to navigate, with check clearance days and additional bank charges creating unwanted surprises. These issues are easier to recognize and mitigate with a knowledgeable and trustworthy export financing partner.”


When thinking about investing in your global growth, learn from the experts.

1) Don’t take unnecessary risks. Use tools like those at the Export-Import Bank to help you sleep better at night.

2) Use experienced resources. Don’t reinvent the wheel or get run over by global surprises. Experts are available here in Arizona.

3) Ensure that your business is well capitalized. Enter global trade knowing there will be the occasional surprise, and that the journey is well worth it when you’re prepared.

4) Spend a dollar to make at least two. The old adage “spend money to make money” is true for Arizona attracting Foreign Direct Investment, and for Arizona-based firms looking to grow internationally. Invest wisely.

Phoenix Business Journal
Global Section Article
November 7, 2008

Doug Bruhnke
Scottsdale, Arizona

Doug Bruhnke is CEO/Founder of Growth Nation and President/Founder of the Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

2008 Global Power Players

Thank you to publisher Don Henninger, editor Ilana Lowery and the entire staff of the Phoenix Business Journal for naming and honoring the 2008 Power Players at the Phoenix Art Museum on Thursday. It was a fun event and a thrill for AZIGG to be mentioned in the same breath as so many great global, education, banking and new guard leaders. Pictures and more info here:

The success of AZIGG has been supported by our advisors. Special thanks go out to Kim Kubsch of Global Arizona – who is amazing – thank you! You can find out more about Kim and each of these talented people here:

Kim Kubsch – Global Arizona
Kjell Andreassen – Acceler8
Frank Beltran – Trade Base Mexico and Beltran Ventures
Mai Crone – Youth Re:Action Corp
Bob Denton – Prime Connexions
Dave Rice – True Cloud
Aly Saxe – Ubiquity Public Relations
David Ziton – OneNeck

Thanks, too to the early sponsors of AZIGG including, Maricopa County MCBiz, Coldstone Creamery, the Scottsdale Chamber, Phoenix CEO-CFO Group, Jim Soudriette, Business Partners 360 and the wonderful Jennifer Schoennagel, and Leanne Kinnard of Tech One (

Thanks, too to all the AZIGG'ers who make each monthly meeting informative and valuable.

Thank you!

Here is the list of Global Power Players. They are all to be commended for their continued support of the Arizona business community. We share a common purpose of building a more diverse economy by having Arizona-based businesses be more successful overseas and by attracting more global companies to Arizona.

Brad Casper – The Dial Corporation (
Rod Miller – Greater Phoenix Economic Council (
Glenn Williamson – Canada Arizona Business Council (
Rick Stephenson – Consulate of Canada (
Lee Knowlton – Kahala Corporation (
Jeff Morhet – InNexus Biotechnology (
Trevor Hill – Global Water Resources (
Sally Spray – US Department of Commerce (
David Dewar – Trillium Residential (
Bernard Otremba-Blanc – BOA Group (
Julia Rosen – Arizona State University (

How can you help? Come on out to AZIGG and we'll get you connected and busy!

All the best, Doug

Doug Bruhnke
Scottsdale, AZ USA

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thunderbird - AZIGG Event November 3rd

On the first Monday in November at AZIGG we have a special evening event jointly organized by the Thunderbird Alumni Phoenix Chapter and the Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG). It starts at 5:30pm on November 3rd (the night before election day).

We’re bringing together business owners in the Valley who have the desire to grow internationally with the number one ranked school of international business. International professionals will have the chance to network, exchange ideas and talk about global development and expansion for Arizona.

Five speakers and panelists with roots to Thunderbird School of Global Management will discuss ideas on how to stay current with international business practices and how to grow your business internationally.

1. Inform on ways to keep up-to-date on the latest international business practices.
2. Share the value of Thunderbird for local companies with global ambitions.
3. Facilitate networking between the Thunderbird and the AZIGG communities.

Monday Evening, November 3rd, 5:30-7:30pm
FIRST MONDAY: ”Education Supports International Growth”
Special Joint Program with Thunderbird Alumni Phoenix Chapter, featuring:
  • Jon Hobgood, International Director at Honeywell
  • Bonnie Cameron Wells, Senior Director, Thunderbird
  • Joseph Babcock, Director, Thunderbird
  • Dr. Paula Shipper, Director, Thunderbird
  • Dr. Roe Goddard, Associate Professor of Asia Studies

At Thunderbird School of Global Management, AT&T Auditorium
1 Global Place, Glendale

Investment: $10, includes snacks and drinks

Sign-up here:, or

AZIGG meetings are typically held on First Monday’s. Our home locations are near 22nd and Camelback or the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Auditorium at Second Avenue and Jefferson in downtown Phoenix - on the south side of Jefferson. There are exceptions - - - like this month at Thunderbird!

The investment to attend AZIGG meetings is typically $10. Coffee and pastries are provided. Attendees should RSVP here:

Doug Bruhnke, AZIGG and Growth Nation

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rod Miller Wins Business Journal Power Player Award

Rod Miller, VP of International for GPEC, has been recognized as a 2008 Power Player by the Phoenix Business Journal. He along with Michael Crow, President of ASU, have been designated as the Valley's most influential global leaders.

You can hear from Rod Miller at the next Arizona International Growth Group event on Monday, October 6th at 7:30am, in Phoenix. For more information and to sign-up, visit the website at

On October 6th, AZIGG is also hosting the 1st Anniversary meeting at - which is near 22nd and Camelback. The investment is $10. The event starts at 7:30am and includes juice, coffee and Greek pastries.

See you there! Doug

Doug Bruhnke
CEO of Growth Nation
President of AZIGG

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Governor and Others Talking Global

There are three global events coming up that are great opportunities to interact with the international community of Phoenix.

On September 17th, the World Affairs Council of Arizona is hosting an event with Lee Knowlton of Kahala Corp (Cold Stone Creamery) on being a global citizen. The event is a dinner that starts at 5:30pm and you can find out more at If you would like to sit with the AZIGG group, please let me know.

On September 29th, the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations with support from AZIGG and many other local international groups is hosting the 5th Annual International State of the State with Governor Janet Napolitano. The event is a lunch that starts at 11:30am and you can find out more at I’ll be sitting at one of two WACAZ tables ;-)

On October 6th, the Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG) is hosting our 1st Anniversary meeting at near 22nd and Camelback. Our speaker is the one and only Rod Miller of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). It starts at 7:30am and includes juice, coffee and Greek pastries. Signup here:

Can’t decide? See you at all of them.

Doug Bruhnke
President of AZIGG
CEO of Growth Nation

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Next AZIGG Meetings 10/6am and 11/3pm

The Arizona International Growth Group (AZIGG) had another excellent crowd - 135 - at the headquarters of Cold Stone Creamery on August 15th. Thank you to Lee Knowlton - President of International for Kahala Corporation - for hosting us.

Our next AZIGG meeting is the first Monday in October - October 6th - featuring Rod Miller of GPEC (Greater Phoenix Economic Council). Rod will be presenting his 'International State of the State' that is now an annual event at AZIGG. We'll be at - near 22nd and Camelback. Start time is 7:30am.

Our November meeting is another special one - on the night before the Presidential Election. On Monday evening November 3rd we'll be at Thunderbird School of Global Management and we'll be treated to presentations by successful alumni of Thunderbird. This is a joint meeting with the Thunderbird alumni association.

Thanks to everyone for your support of AZIGG. More info here:

All the best, Doug

Doug Bruhnke
AZIGG & Growth Nation
Scottsdale, AZ USA

AZIGG Celebrates One Year in Phoenix

It was nearly one year ago (October, 2007) that we started AZIGG - Arizona International Growth Group. Thanks to our first speaker Rod Miller of GPEC, who got us off to a fast start.

Before that first meeting I was wondering why Phoenix didn't have a business group where former expatriates like me could get together with other international folks, and where Arizona-based companies could go to get help and advice to take their business global. Why not?

The two premier groups in the Valley are mostly non-business: Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations ( and the World Affairs Council of Arizona ( They're both excellent - I'm a member of each - but they don't meet the business side of things like I wanted. And so I was thinking that if I could start a group that was more business oriented, some of the PCFR and WACAZ members might be interested, and off we go.

Before I sent out that first e-mail I thought we'd get 30-50 people, and I went ahead to book Dave Sherman's Training Center. Within an hour of sending an e-mail, 50 people had signed up. Oooops - - - we moved to! Holly Schor and Don Mock of are wonderful - - - and they put up with too many people and too many cars at that first and subsequent meeting. We got 'er done thanks to the team!

We've subsequently moved to larger venues like Sassi in Scottsdale and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Auditorium. AZIGG was started! Andres Chagolla of MCBiz and his team have also been extraordinary in helping us get off the ground and keep it going and growing. Thanks Andres and Nelson!?

A lot of the interest in that first meeting was for Rod Miller, VP of International for Greater Phoenix Economic Council ( Rod is extraordinary - - - his international background impeccable - - - and he is an amazingly effective ambassador for Arizona.

Many thanks to all the internationalists who have made it possible, especially Kim Kubsch and the board of AZIGG

There have been many community leaders who have helped out - including Susan Schultz of PCFR, Sharon Wilkinson of WACAZ, Steve Zylstra of AZ Tech Council, Glenn Williamson and CABC, etc etc. There are too many to count - and so thank you to all!

Thanks for visiting our blog. I'll take a few steps back to get you caught up and then hopefully keep it going and current from our next meeting October 6, 2008 - - - again with Rod Miller!

All the best, Doug
Doug Bruhnke
Founder/President of AZIGG
CEO of Growth Nation