Arizona State University Student-Founded Companies Well Represented in 2012 “35 Under 35” Ranking

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Three ASU Edson Student Spinouts Make the Arizona “35 under 35” List

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At the center of this burgeoning entrepreneurship community in Arizona is Arizona State University; a significant partner in helping these bright, motivated individuals to stay in Arizona

Arizona State University’s Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative has received another accolade to indicate the success of the program. Sunday, the Arizona Republic released its sixth annual class of “35 Entrepreneurs 35 and Younger”, and the Edson Accelerator was well represented in this year’s rankings. Cynthia Valenzuela, Founder of KVZ Sports and Susanna Young, Founder of G3 Box are currently in their second year with the Edson program and were named to this years “35 Under 35” list. Also honored on this year’s list was Jeff Kunowski, Founder of Illumin8 Outdoor Media and alumni of the Edson program.

The “35 Entrepreneurs 35 and Younger” list is an annual compilation of the best and brightest young entrepreneurs in Arizona. Inductees honored this year range in age from 22 to 35, and their companies range from a high-tech manufacturer, a maker of custom video-game controllers and the developer of a shared workspace for small businesses.

“I am thrilled to be listed amongst such a great group of young leaders and hope to be a role model for other Hispanic women” said Cynthia Valenzuela, Co-Founder of KVZ Sports. “I'm honored to be recognized for creating real, new jobs here in Arizona and helping put something back into our communities in a tangible way.”

KVZ Sports, founded by Valenzuela and her partner Matt Boyd, is an early stage growth company which manufactures action and snow sports apparel locally in Phoenix. KVZ is focused on revitalizing the garment manufacturing industry in the United States, using the re-shoring method to manufacture local, high quality products at a faster and more cost effective pace than their off-shore model competitors. Recently, the Arizona Commerce Authority invited KVZ into their AZ Step Program which provides various means of support for expanding the company internationally. In addition to their manufacturing efforts, KVZ will be launching a separate retail line through the support of KickStarter in the coming weeks.

“G3Box is honored to be highlighted in the 35 Entrepreneurs Under 35 list” said Susanna Young, Co-Founder of G3 Box. “Not only is Arizona my home, but it is one of the best places to be young and starting a business. The entrepreneurial climate developing in Arizona is exciting and encouraging. I'm humbled to be a part of it.”

Young, along with three fellow ASU Engineering students formed G3 Box out of the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program within the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering. G3 Box was founded to “generate global good” by converting latent, unused shipping containers into easily customizable, easily transportable medical clinics to be used in any number of scenarios where permanent medical facilities are unavailable. Currently, G3 is preparing to ship their first clinic to Kenya in early 2013, and have another two clinics scheduled to be completed and shipped to other clients by the end of 2013. Young is also featured in the 2012 list of the Top 50 Global Startups in this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week festivities.

KVZ Sports and G3 Box are both currently funded companies in the Edson Student Accelerator out of ASU’s Venture Catalyst unit which resources high-potential startups for growth and success. The Edson Accelerator is housed within ASU SkySong and provides startups and early stage growth companies with access to grant seed funding, office space and mentorship. Edson is seeing incredible success from the ASU student-run companies it supports. Alumni from the Edson program continue to do well when they graduate from the program. Jeff Kunowski, Founder of Illumin8 Outdoor Media, also named to this year’s 35 Under 35 list, is one such example.

“Illumin8 has come a long way since its formation in 2010 and has provided me with invaluable networks, experiences, and knowledge” said Kunowski. “I have learned so much transitioning from earning a grant from the Edson program, to developing my products and patenting them, to gaining the Phoenix Suns as repeat clients, to bringing on Douglas Moss, former President of the Phoenix Coyotes, as an investor and a partner, to most recently establishing a distribution relationship with Panasonic North America. It is an honor to be recognized for these achievements and to be a part of such an amazing group of young entrepreneurs. I am proud to be among them, and I am proud to represent for Arizona State!"

The 35 Under 35 list is also a tribute to the many bright, young entrepreneurs who know and understand that they are able to start and grow a company without having to leave Arizona, and move to what others would consider a more “entrepreneurial” place, such as Silicon Valley. “At the center of this burgeoning entrepreneurship community in Arizona is Arizona State University; a significant partner in helping these bright, motivated individuals to stay in Arizona” said Sidnee Peck, a judge for the Arizona Republic’s selection committee and Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives at ASU. “The easiest time to leave town is right after gradation; however, resources at ASU and ASU SkySong are becoming simply too valuable to leave behind for some of these students who are aspiring entrepreneurs, and more are taking advantage of this as a starting point to get new ventures off the ground.”


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Meagan Garrett
ASU SkySong
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