While with iDE, one of the pilots that caught the eye of Aigner most was a platform that connected farmers to markets. She crafted a business plan, treating the project as if it were a startup and secured enough donors keep the pilot alive. In 2016 Lima Links was born.

A Zambian Agri-Tech Company, Lima Links assists small-scale farmers in accessing markets to sell their products. Through her entrepreneurship, Aigner has combined her passion of helping people with her professional experience.

“I believe that the small-scale farmer has for far too long been on the periphery of agricultural growth; to be central to agricultural growth and not on the periphery, we need to ‘do business differently.’ This is the purpose of Lima Links,” Aigner said in an interview with Africa News Online.

After four years with Lima Links, Aigner decided it was time for a change, so in in 2019, she parterned with her mom, Vickie Aigner, to develop Alive, Fit & Free.

At the time, Vickie Aigner was a fitness instructor at senior living facilities. Aigner brought her skills as a social tech entrepreneur to create a virtual community where people of any age around the world could participate in live experiences.

“We had chatted for years about the possibilities, I could clearly see the business opportunity and I was passionate about creating a new business model that helps creatives (fitness instructors, virtual tour guides, etc.) step out of the traditional gig-economy model and earn good livelihoods while bringing diverse engaging experiences to those most affected by loneliness and isolation,” Aigner said in an Authority Magazine article.

According to Aigner, her degree in global studies created opportunities for her to connect with hundreds of people across the world. Through those connections, she has partnered with international tour guides so that the online community with Alive, Fit & Free can experience places such as Indonesia, Italy, Mongolia, Brazil, the Netherlands and more.

“Bringing these virtual travel experiences to life for our community is so heart-warming, as many of them are past the age where they can comfortably travel abroad and didn’t think it would be possible to continue to explore the world.”

Using her global connections, Aigner has been able to diversify her team, source service providers from other countries and bring in funding with investment firms abroad.

“My degree at ASU opened up the door to these opportunities, and I continue to see the results of that degree today,” she said.

Building businesses from scratch can be a difficult and daunting task. Aigner encouranges those who have interest in entrepreneurship to portray 100 percent confidence in their idea and make networking a priority.

“Relationships are key to building a business, and you never know when someone may be in a role to help you achieve your next milestone — so connect with as many people as possible whenever you can.”

Cormac Doebbeling contributed to this story. 

Matt Oxford

Assistant Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications, College of Global Futures