Thriving Women Entrepreneurs: Unlocking Success in Arizona’s Business Landscape

In the Spotlight: Some Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs of Arizona

#WomenEntrepreneursAZ #EmpoweringWomen #ArizonaBusinessScene #EntrepreneurialSuccess

Women entrepreneurship in Arizona is experiencing a notable surge, with more women venturing into the realm of business ownership and embarking on their entrepreneurial journeys. Bolstered by a supportive ecosystem and a wealth of resources, female entrepreneurs in the Grand Canyon State are carving their paths to success and making significant strides in various industries.

According to insights from the National Association of Women Business Owners, Arizona stands as the 40th state in the nation for the number of women-owned businesses, a figure steadily on the rise thanks to the robust support systems available to female entrepreneurs. Initiatives such as the entrepreneurship program offered by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the assistance provided by the Arizona Small Business Development Center emphasize the commitment to empowering women in business and fostering their growth.

Moreover, Arizona has cultivated a business-friendly environment, characterized by favorable tax policies, streamlined regulations, and enticing incentives for companies to establish their operations. The state’s low tax rates, coupled with business credits and minimal regulatory hurdles, make it an attractive destination for aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to turn their visions into reality.

With its diverse economic landscape spanning advanced tech manufacturing, finance, healthcare, and software sectors, Arizona offers a fertile ground for entrepreneurial endeavors. As women-led businesses continue to flourish against the backdrop of Arizona’s thriving entrepreneurship scene, the state emerges as a beacon of opportunity and innovation, where individuals are empowered to pursue their passions, drive economic growth, and leave a lasting impact on their communities.

In this vibrant landscape of opportunity, women entrepreneurs in Arizona are not only shaping their own destinies but also contributing to the state’s economic vitality and fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration. As the entrepreneurial spirit continues to thrive, Arizona remains poised to serve as a catalyst for women’s empowerment and entrepreneurial success, unlocking new horizons and possibilities for aspiring business leaders across the state.

Here are some inspiring women entrepreneurs from Arizona.

> Germaine Simonson, Owner, Rocky Ridge Gas & Market

Navajo entrepreneur Germaine Simonson took over Rocky Ridge Gas & Market and turned it around. As it progressed, she rolled out her signature “grandma baskets,” themed selections of popular foods and staples that customers can purchase for relatives. There’s “The Hungry Sheepherder,” which includes a loaf of bread, a head of lettuce, two packs of bologna, 12 slices of American cheese, potato chips, and a six-pack of soda, to hit the spot after a long morning of herding. There’s also “The Clean Hogan,” which includes detergent, toilet tissue, Clorox bleach, Pine Sol, a dish scrubber, a heavy-duty sponge and matches – everything Grandma needs to keep everything spick-and-span.

Friends and family members can order the baskets online. There’s even a “give a basket” option, where you can donate a basket to the community. Elders submit their names and phone numbers and get entered into a raffle for any baskets donated that month.

Her aim is to turn Rocky Ridge Gas + Market into a meeting and learning place that strengthens the social fabric of this rural part of the Navajo Nation’s sacred “Dzil Yijiin” (“female mountain”) region.

> Amy Schaumberg, Owner, A. Marie Studio

Amy Schaumberg, the owner of A. Marie Studio focuses on the mantra – “shoot the story.” Her clients seek her out at her Downtown studio with a specific need to present the final product. She ensures that no two photoshoots are alike.

Her portfolio reveals a wide range – from product branding, interiors, portraiture work, and senior shots. So, her goal for every shoot is to remove the barrier between the camera lens and the subject to build rapport.

The unique focus here is that she wants to remove the ‘anxiety’ associated with having your photo taken. It’s clear – you look your best on the day of the shoot, and then she’ll take care of the rest!

> Stephanie Vasquez, Founder, Fair Trade Café

The special background of Stephanie Vasquez’s café is that it wasn’t a Downtown staple. Initially, she searched in the West Valley where she grew up. In 2007 Fair Trade Café was launched. She describes the secret of her business as a “conscientious, sustainable business” model. Over the years, she has fulfilled these practices in more ways than one.

In fact, the community can utilize her café as a safe gathering place. The food is produced in-house and made with ingredients from local vendors.

And, of course, this extends down to the coffee Fair Trade produces for customers: the beans are from ethically sourced and sustainability-focused producers, while the used coffee grounds are turned into compost. Whatever the difficulty, the small-town vibes that imbued Fair Trade Café at the beginning continue more than a decade later!

> Kim Haasarud, Founder, Garden Bar Phoenix

Run by Kim Haasarud and her staff of like-minded bartenders, Garden Bar Phx produces an evolving menu of aromatic cocktails mixed with grazing (charcuterie) boards.

The overall presentation for the patron, including the setting, is important for her staff. Multiple private tasting rooms and a main bar are bathed in natural light and bright paints. Cocktails are demarcated by palette, whether fizzy, sour, or cozy. Food pairings are gently suggested on the menu and by staff to guarantee a good time for all.

> Krista Shepherd, Founder, Multistudio

Considering Multistudio’s adaptively reused studio, it’s a fact that their design team has thrived turning conceptual ideas into vibrant representations of the Greater Downtown community.

Led by Krista Shepherd, Founder, the firm stewarded projects, currently represented by the upcoming Central Station development – to consciously reflect the urban environment.

She has extended activities to community workshops, to engage and assist businesses along Valley Metro’s South Central Extension routes, and as the past co-chair of PCA’s Multi-Modal Connectivity Committee meetings. She was also appointed to serve on the PlanPHX 2025 Leadership Committee, which shapes the City of Phoenix’s General Plan every ten years.

> Julie Wolf, Founder, Thinking Caps Design

For almost thirty years, Julie Wolf, Founder and her Thinking Caps Design team have created branding based on longevity – transforming disparate ideas into simple, unforgettable entities.

A range of designs to shape the look and branding of local destinations include – the original Herberger Theater logo, Phoenix Art Museum, Fiesta Bowl PLAY, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Civic Space Park, and Arizona School for the Arts.

For evolving projects in the public realm, is Hance Park’s revitalization. Wayfinding, or identifiable geographical landmarks, is pivotal in their staying power. When contracted to project the talent from within Arizona School for the Arts to the outside world, she collaborated with the school to weave a series of portraits of their performing arts students around the facility’s fencing for motorists to see from the road.


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