FORGE Launches Crucible Program Aimed at Equipping Local Startups with Tools for Success

Crucible at FORGE has selected its inaugural cohort of startup companies to receive specialized training and mentorship, culminating in a demonstration event for potential investors and fellow entrepreneurs.

Oct. 25, 2023


Crucible founders meeting with FORGE Founding Executive Director Brian Ellerman and FORGE Mentor in Residence Brian Ellison at the FORGE at Roy Place in downtown Tucson.

University of Arizona FORGE recently launched Crucible at FORGE, an intensive eight-week accelerator program for select startups. FORGE, which stands for “Finding Opportunities and Resources to Grow Entrepreneurs," is part of the Office of Research, Innovation & Impact (RII). FORGE’s mission is to inspire entrepreneurial thinking, scale up acceleration, and advance the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

 New venture founders selected for the Crucible program gain the tools needed to become investment-ready. The program provides access to a network of specialists and mentors to support and assist founders as they hone their messaging, more effectively promote their products, and position their companies for growth. 

 The capstone of the program, “F23 Demo Day,” offers founders the opportunity to pitch their businesses and demonstrate their products to investors, potential employees, industry mentors, and fellow entrepreneurs.

 The inaugural cohort of Crucible at FORGE includes startups that have established themselves as pioneers in their respective fields: Better Than Provisions, maker of a nutrient-rich, grain-free granola; Marro Technologies, which identifies software redundancies for clients to reduce annual expenses; Suncliffe, a premium gin inspired by the American southwest; and Wander Health, which connects American travelers abroad to a validated network of English-speaking doctors. 


Demetrius Bethea, founder, owner, and CEO of Marro Technologies

 “When these companies applied to Crucible they were looking for advice on how to scale,” said FORGE Founding Executive Director Brian Ellerman. “Through the accelerator program they gained confidence and clarity and now they are ready to speak to investors, strategic partners, or prospective executive hires.  The Demo Day is an exciting opportunity for investors and others in the entrepreneurial community to see just how ready they are.”

 “It could have been a lot longer before I saw success if I didn’t have access to the resources that Crucible provides,” said Demetrius Bethea, founder, owner, and CEO of Marro Technologies. “Crucible has given me a network of people here in Tucson that I never would have gotten otherwise. These connections are going to be integral in growing Marro further.” 

 Bethea, who founded two previous companies before Marro, said, “When I founded those companies, I didn’t have any business experience or guidance from mentors. I’ve had the exact opposite experience with Marro thanks to Crucible at FORGE.” 

 Crucible at FORGE’s “F23 Demo Day” is scheduled for Nov. 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the FORGE at Roy Place located at 44 N. Stone Ave. in downtown Tucson. 

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