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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


TENWEST Impact Festival comes back strong with inaugural street fest

Charlie Borla
Lucha libre wrestlers draw in a crowd at the TENWEST Street Fest.

For six years, the TENWEST Impact Festival has brought together Tucson’s local businesses and leaders to tackle challenges faced in the community. 

Backboned by Startup Tucson as well as the University of Arizona Center for Innovation, TENWEST’s goal every year is to not only bring Tucson’s small business community together but to also celebrate the community as a whole.

“Our mission overall is to support entrepreneurship here in Tucson and entrepreneurs of all types,” said Liz Pocock, CEO of Startup Tucson and TENWEST. “[The Festival] is really a culmination of that … innovation happens when you have different kinds of people in the same room, so TENWEST really aspires to be a place that’s a ‘pick-your-own-adventure.’”

TENWEST Impact Festival has been working with Tucson’s small business community for some time, in fact, this is the sixth year of this weeklong event. Beginning on Tuesday of last week at the Tucson Museum of Art, TENWEST hosted dozens of conversations and workshops at the Tucson Convention Center, ranging from building your own brand to licensing 101 to DJ workshops and even TikTok filmmaking.

“After [COVID-19] we wanted to come back really strong, we wanted to do something that was different for Tucson,” Pocock said. “We saw a lot of vendors and entrepreneurs get hit really hard, so we wanted to have a platform to showcase them and also celebrate all day.”

To do just that, this year’s festival culminated towards the first-annual ‘TENWEST Street Fest’.

Featuring over 100 different local vendors, live performances from musicians, local artists and even lucha libres, the inaugural street fest held in Downtown Tucson couldn’t have gone better.

“We started at 10 [a.m.], and we sold out in almost five hours,” said Philip Rieff, co-owner of Tita! Tita!, a Filipino street food concept. “There’s so much variety you can find in the festival … we didn’t realize there was so much diversity in Tucson until we actually joined this event.”

For local artists like Kristina Montoya, co-owner of Sparrows and Sombreros, an opportunity to show off their creativity is central to growing their business.

“I actually wasn’t expecting it to be this big; everyone’s been really helpful, which usually isn’t the case as a vendor,” Montoya said. “This gives us an opportunity to actually show ourselves, you’re right in front of your customer.”

While this year’s TENWEST Impact Festival has come to an end, it sure won’t be the last. Sign up for more information on the festival through the festival’s newsletter

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