Group of 18 ASU students visiting a startup, Empower Coffee Roasters

Budding entrepreneurs visit early stage high-performing startups in local Startup Crawl

This post is courtesy of guest writer and ASU student, Michael Amato-Yarbrough.

It’s easy to forget that even the top-performing startups today started off very, very small. Before hiring swaths of employees and big evaluations, they started with one user, one customer, or one person they create value for. It may be the first bag of coffee someone asks you to roast for them, or that first person asking where to buy that Arizona t-shirt you’re wearing. 

As a practicing entrepreneur, you may find yourself wishing for a tour of today’s high-performing startups in their early days. For this reason, the W. P. Carey Center for Entrepreneurship, supported by ASU Entrepreneurship and Innovation, took a busload of student entrepreneurs around the valley to learn from a few local startups. Two of the startups visited were Empower Coffee Roasters and State Forty-Eight. At different points along their startup journeys, each came with a different perspective.

Close up of embroidered State Forty-Eight baseball caps

“When did you realize you wanted to make a business out of your hobby?”


“What was it like leaving your day job to start working on your business full-time?”, were two of the questions asked by students after Denise Napolitano and Mike Spangenberg gave a run-down on where they’ve come and where they are. 

It appears something powerful happens when you can balance your passion for something you care about, with how serious you are about making it a reality.


The W. P. Carey Center for Entrepreneurship focuses on making entrepreneurship accessible + applicable to every educational journey via personalized learning built on real-world opportunities; intentionally improving access and creating new value.


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