AZ Inno Under 25 2023: Meet 8 of Arizona’s young innovators

Arizona’s startup ecosystem is flourishing with startups and venture capitalists continuing to flow into the state for its business-friendly environment, university research and entrepreneurial support programs.

That momentum is only expected to continue as startups — some of which are led by young, innovative entrepreneurs — create new products and solutions to make the world a better place.

In AZ Inno’s annual recognition of entrepreneurs under the age of 25, we highlight eight young business leaders whose companies cover a broad range of industries – from software development to retail to helping other entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground.

Meet AZ Inno’s 2023 Under 25 honorees.

Dylan Capshaw, founder of Stemistry

Age: 17

Dylan Capshaw, founder of Stemistry, a coffee and flower shop with locations in Scottsdale and downtown Phoenix.
Jim Poulin | Phoenix Business Journal

Dylan Capshaw is a born entrepreneur.

At 11, he founded the Dylan Capshaw Wildlife Foundation, a nonprofit to save animals. In 2020, he launched another nonprofit, For the Frontline, which distributed more than 3,000 3D printed masks and face shields to frontline workers worldwide.

That same year, Capshaw was named a finalist for Nickelodeon and Time Magazine’s Kid of the Year award, which recognizes young leaders making a positive impact in their communities.

But Capshaw’s work wasn’t done.  

In 2022, he opened coffee and flower shop Stemistry in Scottsdale, making him one of the youngest brick and mortar store owners in the country.

In February, Capshaw expanded Stemistry with a location in the historic Teeter-Carriage House in downtown Phoenix. The shop sells coffee, sandwiches and pastries as well as hosts a build-your-own bouquet bar.

“I love starting unique concepts. My long-term goal is to have a bunch of little concepts, maybe food service or restaurant space,” Capshaw said. “For now, I’m focusing on growing Stemistry. I’ve had a ton of help from big entrepreneurs in the Valley and others who have offered advice. I’d love to continue expanding and opening new places.”

Kate Fitzgerald, founder of VBAmerica

Age: 21

Kate Fitzgerald, founder of lifestyle apparel company VBAmerica.
Jim Poulin | Phoenix Business Journal

After the NCAA adopted rules allowing student athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness in 2021, it opened the door for Arizona State University women’s beach volleyball player Kate Fitzgerald to pursue her passion of creating a lifestyle apparel company.

In 2022, Fitzgerald launched VBAmerica for volleyball players to show their love of the sport. The company’s shirts, hoodies, hats and accessories quickly gained a following among athletes.

VBAmerica was awarded a $15,000 grant in December at ASU’s Global Sport Venture Challenge, further fueling the company’s growth.

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