Havasu Hikes LLC Named Winner Of ASU HavaStartup Competition

Havasu Hikes LLC Named Winner Of ASU HavaStartup Competition
Janet Cruz / 16 Apr 2024 / No Comments » Comments

By Janet Cruz

Each year, Arizona State University Lake Havasu Campus, awards one local resident with funds for a business plan or idea that improves the local Lake Havasu City economy.

This year,  local Jackie Leatherman with Havasu Hikes LLC, was presented as the winner of the HavaStartup competition at the ASU Business Showcase and Award ceremony April 10.

Before winners are chosen, participants in the competition are required to fully disclose their business models and plans and explain how they are going to use the  award money to develop their new or existing  business.

“A total of eight business proposals registered for the competition this year, out of which three finalists were chosen for the award ceremony,” said organizer and coordinator of HavaStartup and ASU Assistant Professor, Dr. Leepsa Nabaghan Madhabika.

At the end, Havasu Hikes LLC, was chosen.

“I was honored to have Havasu Hikes chosen for first place from so many strong competitors. I highly recommend any entrepreneur participate if they are thinking of a new business or have been in business for fewer than three years,” Leatherman said.

“I am just now wrapping up my third season of Havasu Hikes. This competition allowed me to stop and examine what I have done and what I should do to move forward to continue to grow a successful business.

“I will be utilizing the award for legal consultation to explore contracting with other guides to expand my business, which is really exciting,” Leatherman said.

The business guides both hikers from Lake Havasu or tourists, to partake in hiking in a safe manner in our desert. Havasu Hikes  also teaches hikers how to navigate the desert and promote sustainability. It is a seasonal business based in Lake Havasu City. Jackie Leatherman is the sole owner/operator/guide of Havasu Hikes.

Guided hikes on the weekends  run from October through April. Leatherman was awarded $1,000 prize money to develop her business.


Aaron Espinoza, with Aaron’s Custom Metalworks LLC, a decorative metalworks company located in Lake Havasu City. It was established March 1, 2023. The company offers welding, fabrication and CNC plasma cutting services. Aaron’s Custom Metalworks LLC has achieved significant milestones since its establishment, including forming the company, obtaining necessary licenses, securing shop space and developing essential marketing materials.

Aaron Espinoza . Submitted photo by Dr. Leepsa Nabaghan Madhabika

These accomplishments demonstrate the progress made in laying the foundation for a successful ornamental ironworks business. Aaron was awarded a $500 prize.

Finalist, Mike Walters with Prime Life First LLC,  which is an online store that offers premium-quality supplements, coupled with comprehensive educational resources and personalized support. It was established in December 2022. Their business tagline is “EMPOWERING HEALTH, ENRICHING LIVES.” The mission of the company is to empower individuals to live their best lives. As shared by Mike Walters, Prime Life First is more than just a store; it’s a destination for holistic wellness.

Their educational resources provide valuable insights into health-related topics, empowering individuals to make informed choices about their well-being. Additionally, their personalized support ensures that each customer receives tailored recommendations and guidance on their wellness journey. He was awarded a $100 gift card prize.

“I’m pleased to share that the event concluded successfully. I was deeply impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit, passion, and dedication exhibited by our winners and finalists as they presented their business models to the community,” Leepsa Nabaghan Madhabika said.

“Equally remarkable were the community members who showed genuine enthusiasm to support the entrepreneurs and local business.”

Mayor Cal Sheehy was also in attendance and spoke among the attendees.
ASU Advisory Board includes: Dr. Leepsa Nabaghan Madhabika with ASU Havasu; Ms. Andrea Helart President, CEO Lake Havasu Area Chamber; Kryistyna Hook, Senior Director of Brand Strategies and Social Impact Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest;Dr. Cristen Mann, Faculty, ASU at Lake Havasu; and Dr. Carla Harcleroad, Executive Director, ASU at Lake Havasu.

HavaStartup is also in partnership with The KAWS, Small Business Development Center of Arizona, Better Business Bureau, Mohave County Economic Development, Lake Havasu Chamber Foundation for Education and Leadership (CFEL) and Arizona Commerce Authority,

For more information on ASU HavaStartup, visit www.havasu.asu.edu/havastartup

Submitted Photo by Dr. Leepsa Nabaghan Madhabika

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