top of page

Startup Tucson's Spring Showcase was a Blast!

Our Spring 2024 showcase was one for the books! We laughed, we cried, we ate yummy samples, and were creatively inspired. It was such an amazing experience to see how far the entrepreneurs took their businesses in just 10 short weeks. Keep reading to see the photo gallery and to learn more about our pre-accelerator programs, Canvas and Food Forward, meet the entrepreneurs, and get the all the Showcase highlights!

This year was a first for us - we introduced a new creative industry track, Canvas, to our pre-accelerator program. We graduated 14 creative companies selling products such as handmade soap, pottery, murals, bespoke knives, jewelry, and more! (See a full list of graduates at the bottom of the article).

The creative entrepreneurs went through a robust curriculum that included:

Hear more from a Canvas graduate:

I wish I had a program like Startup Tucson when I first began my soap making journey 9 years ago. I knew I wanted to expand beyond selling on Etsy and through this program I found many sales channels that I know will work for my small business. I met the most incredible artists and makers in my cohort and to this day, we send each other information, upcoming events, programs and more. The best piece of advice I took from Canvas is building an email list and website. This way I have more control over my customer's experience when purchasing my product as well as obtaining a direct way to communicate with them when sharing promotions or local events. - Magnolia Street Soap Mill

We also graduated our 6th cohort of food entrepreneurs from our food industry track, Food Forward. Six new food companies are now part of the Food Forward alumni adding fermented hot sauce, luxury chocolate, nutritional tortillas, crumb cake, french baked goods, and a personal chef to the mix.

The food entrepreneurs were given food-specific classes that included:

  • Our all-day Accelerated Fundamentals Workshop

  • Product Development and Pricing

  • Building your First Budget and Understanding True Costs

  • A Mentor Fair

  • Branding & Marketing

  • Food Science, Nutrition Labeling and Licensing, & Food Safety

Hear more from a Food Forward graduate:

When I walked into Food Forward my business was a hobby, I left as a business prepared for success and a new state of mind. Startup Tucson helped me create a concentrated vision and words for my pitch. These words helped me change how I present my company and also my direction. Looking back I see I was not grounded in my approach, I feel now so empowered and have direction. It's such an important and strengthening position, it's hard to explain how grateful I am! I would refer everyone to Startup Tucson, it's the perfect support and education everyone needs in starting a business. The best piece of advice I received was to focus on communication of information I wanted my customers to know. I loved connecting with all the food and canvas people taking the class at the same time. Some of us are looking for ways to combine what we do. - Cycling Moon Cafe

Thanks to Groundswell Capital's Firestarter Grant we were able to provide the largest amount of prize money in the history of this event! Both Canvas and Food Forward participants were eligible to win 1st Place, 2nd Place, and People's Choice awards. To determine 1st and 2nd place, a panel of 3 judges with industry-related expertise visited each entrepreneur's booth and carefully reviewed their business models. People's Choice was determined by who received the most votes from showcase guests.

We are please to announce the winners are:

  • Canvas

    • 1st Place went to Elliot the Potter, who makes pottery for people seeking a connection with art, the earth, and handmade goods.

    • 2nd Place went to Ashes to Light/SD Gallery, who lovingly transforms ashes into incredible paintings.

    • People's Choice went to AlignWear, who has designed wearable fitness products designed for alignment, protection, and style

  • Food Forward

    • 1st Place went to Ouef White Bakeshop*, who surpassed the judges expectations with her delectable french pastries.

    • 2nd Place went to Cycling Moon Cafe, who sold them on the business model for luxurious and ethically sourced chocolate with a story.

    • People's Choice went to Chulas Cocina, a private chef specializing in Mexican and Caribbean flavors to honor the culture, traditions and history behind the food.

All of the entrepreneurs worked so hard to make the showcase such a special event! Here is a list of all of the companies that showcased with their website or social linked so you can get in touch with them if you'd like to order/work with them!


  • AlignWear: Boosting confidence in gyms and yoga studios with wearable fitness products designed for alignment, protection, and style.

  • AniMIDIVide: Original animated musings. If I put a smile on your face, my work is complete.

  • ArtSmart LLC: Online art education platform with a mission to reignite creativity in children through engaging and flexible arts & crafts lessons. With a focus on using recycled materials in our art, we aim to instill critical thinking & problem solving skills while remaining eco friendly and globally minded.

  • Ashes to Light / SD Gallery: I transform ashes into art to be enjoyed for a lifetime.

  • Edwina the Artist: Edwina channels divine energy to craft metaphysical art works that serve as portals to explore the realms of spirituality, higher consciousness, and transformative growth. She creates and sells original artwork through various channels, including online galleries, art fairs, and exhibitions. She also offers limited edition prints and merchandise featuring her artwork to cater to a wider audience.

  • Elliot the Potter: Elliot the Potter makes pottery for people seeking a connection with art, the earth, and handmade goods. Their decorative and functional wheel-thrown ceramics are colorfully imbued with restful ease, inviting moments of calm amidst the chaos of everyday life.

  • Erixaart LLC: Erixaart sells edgy abstract artwork on various unique products such as clothing, earrings, stickers, stationary, and more.

  • Inspire Cooling Experience: Inspire was started after a trip to Disney world and not wanting my son to have a melt-down due to it being too hot. So I created a fun cooling vest, where ice packs can be added to the vest to keep the person wearing the vest nice and cool.

  • Julie Ragland Art & Design: Creating colorful art and design with heart and meaning, my work reflects a deep connection with the human and animal world. I use many different mediums to create including painting, collage, poetry, and mixed media, and I often use upcycled materials.

  • Luna & Saya: We are proud to be a Latina-owned, women-owned brand specializing in unique, fun, and quality made jewelry for stylish and fashionable individuals.

  • Magnolia Street Soap Mill: Handmade soaps that are 100% vegan, made without any animal products or byproducts, and are free from harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, and artificial colors.

  • Norman Tactical: The Norman Tactical strives to make knives of beauty and function that make people prepared and capable. I am here to show everyone the value of having and carrying a good knife.

  • Thread Nest: Thread Nest helps people who love handmade goods bring meaningful items and experiences into their lives through DIY Kits, workshops, online courses, and products even if time, distance, and cost is an issue.

  • Winding Road Art & Consulting: I specialize in helping art buyers—from curious to collectors—find fine art that celebrates the meaningful places in their lives.

Food Forward

  • Chulas Cocina: We are a private chef service that offers a unique at home experience of infusions of all diasporas. We specialize in Mexican & Caribbean flavors because we love to honor the culture, traditions and history behind the food.

  • Cycling Moon Cafe: I make high quality origin chocolate with a focus on health, responsible sourcing and flavor innovation.

  • Desert Sun Sauce*: We are passionate about crafting flavorful hot sauces that not only ignite your taste buds but also prioritize your health. Our specialty lies in raw, living, fermented hot sauces. We believe in the power of natural ingredients, big flavor, and no preservatives.

  • Ouef White Bakeshop*: Elevate your brunch and any occasion with pastries from Ouef White Bakeshop. We help foodies and home cooks transform their boring meal into an memorable experience through French inspired pastries with unique flavors.

  • Crazy Crumb*: Crumb cake with a flavor twist for snacking outside the box.

  • Y las Tortillas, LLC: Tortilla factory dedicated to making nutrient-dense tortillas. Designed for specific purposes such as to support brain health, lower blood sugar and natural body wellness. Infused with ingredients known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

We would also like to extend a BIG thank you to the Spring 2024 Showcase Sponsors: Flora's Market Run and Pueblo Vida Brewing!

If you are interested in attending our pre-accelerator program, applications for Fall 2024 will open soon! Make sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter so you are the first to know when applications go live!

*If you would like to reach out to a company that has not developed their social media or website yet, please email and we will make the connection for you.


bottom of page