Minnesota’s startup ecosystem is filled with many driven entrepreneurs, apt investors and passionate founders – including those who are just barely hitting their early 20s.
Despite their young age, these leaders in the local startup scene are advancing their respective fields into the future.
Minne Inno has compiled a list showcasing 10 innovators aged 25 and younger who have already distinguished themselves in Minnesota. The selections range from young venture capitalists to founders, CEOs and small-business owners.
Those on the list were chosen based on nominations received from the community and Minne Inno’s editorial selection process. Their emailed responses to our questions were edited for length, clarity and grammar.
Demi George, 25, founder of HeartGlass As of Oct. 2022
Demi George launched her size-inclusive swimsuit line, HeartGlass, in 2020. The business uses chlorine-resistant material and soft fabric, and unlike many other one-piece swimsuits on the market, offers suits with different sized tops and bottoms. George also advises local retailers, startups and fashion brands on business strategy.
Why do you do what you do? Not only is being an entrepreneur a passion, but we need more sizing options in womenswear. How sizing has been set up in ready wear is not proportional to women’s figures and is only based on one shape: It is increasingly bigger all around as it goes up. HeartGlass products are based on all bodyshapes. Women have been mis-categorized as plus size just for having a larger cup size or bottom size but are, in reality, a size small or medium. Women with these sizing issues can now feel their true self because there is a size that fits their shape with HeartGlass.
What is your biggest accomplishment? Building the foundations of my company to be in a commercialize-able state after earning grant money. Basing the sizing on one mannequin whose form does not fit the average female body shape was out of the picture. I did not follow industry standards; I went to the root problem with women’s fitting issues — the size — to create an innovative solution based around female features rather than just one shape. It took a lot of negotiations, meetings, bold risks and resources that were lived out with confidence and determination.
What excites you about the future? Living a life of abundance and meeting new people in the industry. My business keeps growing and gaining more traction, which I am looking forward to as it is my life venture. I look forward to introducing my brand and products to more people, retailers, and for more collaborations to come. I also look forward to helping more retailers, small businesses, entrepreneurs and others who want to start businesses.
What's the last book you read? “Fearless,” by Rebecca Minkoff, and a draft of my own book about building HeartGlass
Education: Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication, certificate in entrepreneurship and innovation at Arizona State University
Volunteer work: Mentoring student entrepreneurs and hosting virtual networking mastermind events
Hobbies: Going to restaurants, cooking, cocktail hours, networking, skiing and snowboarding, being at a pool both swimming and laying out