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Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation (OTEF) Press Kit
The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation (OTEF) is a Phoenix, A-based 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping at-risk youth and adults improve their lives by creating and growing entrepreneurial ventures. OTEF's dream is to make entrepreneurship a reality to disadvantaged populations including laid-off workers, homeless persons, ex-offenders and victims of domestic violence. OTEF believes everyone deserves the access to the same resources, connections and training given to America’s best and brightest entrepreneurs. Since the economic recession of 2008, our focus is on management and technical assistance to eligible individuals and small disadvantaged businesses, businesses operating in areas of high unemployment or low-income or firms owned by low-income individuals.
Founded in 2005 by serial entrepreneurs, Francine Hardaway, Ed Nusbaum, and Rob Dunaway, OTEF is a now in its sixth successful year. The Organization is supported almost entirely by its unique model of providing an easy vehicle for successful entrepreneurs to give back and bootstrap those with big ideas but little resources to bring them to life. The three founders are especially proud of the successful annual conference – the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference – they launched to support upcoming OTEF entrepreneurs while providing a forum for successful entrepreneurs to network and learn. The Conference is now entering its sixth year and is still the largest event of its kind in the region. Proceeds, sponsorships and donations from the Conference support OTEF programs for at-risk populations throughout the year -- programs that make "all the difference" in the lives of participants, their fledgling businesses and the community at large.
OTEF Success Stories Roadmap to Launch – 2011 Offered in conjunction with the City of Chandler Economic Development Department and Gangplank, a non-profit collaborative workspace in downtown Chandler, this program gave local start-ups the same cutting-edge “Lean Startup” methodology to which Silicon Valley's best and brightest entrepreneurs have access: getting a minimum viable product out the door, discovering the product market fit, how to pivot and how to scale for success. Participant Testimonial: "I recently attended Entrepreneurship Coaching, at Gangplank, that was underwritten by the not for profit group, Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation. I highly recommend visiting Gangplank and taking the opportunity to attend the various free programs offered there...The sessions I attended covered pivoting, cashflow, culture and funding. The material and ensuing discussions gave me valuable information that I put to use immediately! The tools and information are great for a business in the early stages. However, one of the best benefits is the networking opportunity! The willingness of the attendees and the presenters to share resources to help one another to succeed was simply eye opening and amazing!"
OTEF Press Kit
OTEF Success Stories - Continued
Southwest Autism Research and Rehabilitation Center (SARRC) – 2010 OTEF donated professional services to help the Center set up sustainable business models for enterprises that trained and employed autistic young adults. The Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center’s Entrepreneurial Center for Special Abilities partners with Arizona’s most celebrated chefs to create Culinary Works, an entrepreneurial venture to teach adults with autism spectrum disorders kitchen, marketing, sales and other business skills. OTEF zoomed in on the Culinary Works soup program which produces and sells soups based on local gourmet chef recipes, teaming up with SARRC team to assess how it could be a revenue-generator for the program and how well it could serve as a training program. OTEF worked with SARRC leadership to analyze the program’s current features and explored ways that processes and procedures could be enhanced to make the program more self-sufficient and effective. Executive Testimonial: Jeri Kendle, President, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center “Our thanks go out to Phil Blackerby and Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation (OTEF) for assisting SARRC with one of our newest social entrepreneurial ventures, CulinaryWorks. As a start up company, it is often difficult to see the forest for the trees and, as part of a growing non-profit, it can be tough just finding the time to contemplate the trees! Phil was able to quickly grasp our challenges and opportunities and provide clear and practical advice and resources. He was also helpful in challenging our thinking about product delivery, providing cost-effective alternatives for packaging and insight on our sales and marketing strategies. It was a pleasure to learn from someone with the depth of experience, wisdom and passion for entrepreneurship. Thank you for helping us realize our dreams!”
Blueprint for Survival – 2009 OTEF partnered with Southwest Jobs Network to address head-on the unprecedented challenges to the entrepreneurial community brought on by the 2008 financial crash, offering four “Blueprint for Survival” workshops. OTEF developed a special program that focused on a new at-risk population –displaced workers who are the collateral damage of the continuing economic downturn. Blueprint for Survival helps participants understand the practical requirements for building a successful business, including how to take care of family obligations. Attendees are encouraged to collaborate with each other, share resources and explore potential partnerships while receiving real-world advice on everything from existing support programs to how to deal with the stress of being laid off in a difficult market. Participants in the program came from a wide range of industries, educational backgrounds, age groups and economic backgrounds with one common characteristic that brought them together—a will to survive and thrive. Executive Testimonial: –Pat Elliott - Western Marketing Group “OTEF literally change lives – for the better! Arizona’s deep economic downturn has left hundreds of highly skilled workers unemployed for long periods of time, with few options to return to previous jobs. I’ve personally seen the impact of OTEF’s Blueprint for Survival workshop in bringing these individuals new thinking and new resources. The workshop has been the spark that ignited new directions and entrepreneurial approaches and moved talented people from despair to productivity, making a profound and long-lasting difference in their lives and in the community.”
OTEF Press Kit
TumbleTees™ Tumbleweed T-shirts - 2008 OTEF partnered with the Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development, another non-profit dedicated to helping runaway youth. Together, they helped a group of young adults start their own T-shirt printing business, TumbleTees, the business still growing steadily. During the entrepreneurial program, not only did the group learn how to start a successful business, they also began to supply other non-profits with branded T-shirts to help their causes. Counted among these non-profit customers is Tumbleweed’s Drop-In Gallery (DIG) art gallery dedicated to exhibiting the artwork of runaway youth art. The art gallery even received proceeds from the Tshirt sales. Executive Testimonial: Dick Geasland, LCSW, Executive Director, Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development “Both DIG and TumbleTees are growing steadily…Be watching for TumbleDogs, a hot dog care business, that is about to kick off. Thank you, OTEF, for all you have done to make these entrepreneurial programs entrenched into our organization’s culture.
SEEDS House Coffee Shop – 2007 This OTEF program helped lay the foundation for a new entrepreneurial venture in Mesa, Arizona – Cup O’ Karma Coffee Shop, still a thriving business to this day. OTEF helped the SEEDS House, a domestic violence half-way house, plan, open and run the coffee shop. The shelter’s residents wanted a place where they could work and develop their business and career skills in a safe environment. Five years later and counting, the shop is thriving. The 12-week entrepreneurship program helped participants develop a business plan and provided guidance in owning and operating a business. SEEDs residents operated the café while learning employable skills such as customer service, community relations, marketing and outreach, purchasing and management. Executive Testimonial: MonaLou Callery, Founder and Executive Director, SEEDs “For me, the OTEF course not only helped our residents to gain entrepreneurial skills but also brought our program to another level. When we began, the SEEDs program did not have a business plan. Now, we too have a business plan that provides direction for the very program that houses the women in our group homes and how to grow.”
OTEF Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation (OTEF)? Founded in 2005 in Phoenix, Arizona, The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation (OTEF) is a 5013c non-profit organization whose mission is to connect disadvantaged populations to the same resources, connections and training given to America’s best and brightest entrepreneurs. Since the economic recession of 2008, our focus is on management and technical assistance to eligible individuals and small disadvantaged businesses, businesses operating in areas of high unemployment or low-income or firms owned by low-income individuals. OTEF helps at-risk youth and adults improve their lives by creating and growing entrepreneurial ventures. The organization’s dream is to make entrepreneurship a reality to disadvantaged populations including laid-off workers, homeless persons, ex-offenders and victims of domestic violence. OTEF believes everyone deserves the access to the same resources, connections and training given to America’s best and brightest entrepreneurs.
OTEF Press Kit
Who started OTEF? Francine Hardaway, a former foster parent, her business partner and fellow entrepreneur, Ed Nusbaum, and their friend and attorney, Rob Dunaway, also an entrepreneur, originally started OTEF in 2005 as a response to what they saw as an increasing need to help people in their community whose careers were stagnant or who were stuck in dead-end jobs. Due to the economic downturn and other community trends, the organization’s charter expanded to help a growing group of disadvantaged populations including the homeless, ex-offenders and domestic violence victims. Their mission is to deliver the same resources, connections and training to these populations given to America’s best and brightest entrepreneurs. Thanks to their vast connections to the global entrepreneurial community and their extensive experience with business start-ups, they have been highly successful in achieving their mission over time.
How it OTEF funded? OTEF is completely funded by the proceeds of the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference. Now entering its sixth year, the Conference has grown into the largest event of its kind in the region. The goal is always to make a slight profit on the Conference, and use that to fund OTEF’s entrepreneurial programs for the disadvantaged. The organization is virtual and all board members and staff serve as volunteers. What area some of OTEF’s largest accomplishments to date? Year after year, OTEF has delivered highly successful entrepreneurial programs to the Arizona community including: 2007 - Helped the women of SEEDS house, a domestic violence half-way house, plan, open, and run a coffee shop in Mesa, Arizona where they could work in a safe environment. The Cup O’Karma Coffee Shop is still a flourishing business to this day. 2008 – Partnered with a non-profit that helps runaway youth, OTEF helped a group of young adults start a T-shirt printing business to supply other nonprofits and an art gallery where runaway youth could exhibit their art and receive part of the proceeds from sales. The TumbleTees T-shirt business is still a thriving business to this day. 2009 - Shifted gears for the recession, partnering with the Scottsdale Jobs network to offer four “Blueprint for Survival” workshops to help laid off workers develop income streams through involuntary entrepreneurship. 2010 - Donated services to the Southwest Autism Research and Rehabilitation Center to help it set up sustainable business models for enterprises that trained and employed autistic young adults. 2011 - Ran a program called “Roadmap to Launch” for participants in StartupWeekendChandler, a joint program of the City of Chandler Economic Development Department and Gangplank, a non-profit collaborative workspace in downtown Chandler.
OTEF Press Kit
OTEF Executive Team The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation is a 501c3 non profit organization with a local board of business leaders and a small dedicated team committed to serving our mission of providing training and support to help at-risk youth and adults improve their lives by creating and growing entrepreneurial ventures. Board of Directors
Joan Koerber-Walker, Chairman of the Board Joan brings to OTEF experience ranging from non-profit and entrepreneurial ventures to the Fortune 500. In addition to her role of Chairman of the Board here at OTEF, Joan currently serves as President and CEO of of the Arizona BioIndustry Association (AZBio). Joan’s resume includes board level and executive positions with for profit companies in the B2B and B2C space. She also has served as the CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association (2006-2008), on the board of trustees of the National Small Business Association in Washington D.C., on the board of directors of the Arizona Technology Council and as chairman of the board of Parenting Arizona. (Google Profile)
Rob Dunaway, Board Member Rob has over 20 years of experience as a Silicon Valley technology attorney and startup company management advisor, having represented public clients and hundreds of startup companies. A co-author of popular books on startup company management and legal protection of software and licensing, he also has CEO experience and has started or co-founded several companies and non-profits. (RobDunaway.com)
Ed Nusbaum, Board Member Ed is a cofounder and partner of Stealthmode Partners. Previously a board member of the Arizona Technology Council, Arizona Internet Professionals Association, AeA, and TiE-Arizona. (EdNusbaum.com)
Merlin U. Ward, Board Member Merlin lives and breathes the OTEF life and has an extreme passion for business and marketing. He has started multiple ventures and consulted many entrepreneurs in building their businesses to be successful machines. He is a man of many hats, even though you will only see him in the one. (MerlinUWard.com)
OTEF Press Kit
Francine Hardaway, Strategist Francine Hardaway, Ph.D., is the co-founder of Stealthmode Partners, an accelerator for entrepreneurs, and a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and blogger. Read her blog at FastCompany.com and Huffington Post. (Google Profile)
Phillip Blackerby, Entrepreneurial Education Phillip Blackerby (www.blackerbyassoc.com) is a trainer at heart, focusing on entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur himself, Phillip has started several businesses and sold one, a travel agency. He is licensed to facilitate all the FastTrac entrepreneurship training programs offered by the Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, the “foundation of entrepreneurship.” With teammates Francine Hardaway and Ed Nusbaum, Phillip has trained over 650 entrepreneurs and business owners in the greater Phoenix area. He has also built business plans for companies in a wide variety of industries: online dating, gardening products, consumer finance, social networking, convenience retail, food manufacturing and interior decorating. He has also helped cities and towns develop their strategic plans. (Google Profile)
Paula Satow – Community Support and Development Paula Satow is a “back-to-basics” brand marketing strategist, serial entrepreneur, speaker and author, dedicated to making the world a simpler, more “grok”-able place for everyone. She has over 30 years of experience helping people, companies and groups discover their message, define their brand and build their market presence. In 2002, she founded Scottsdalebased brand marketing consultancy, Satow Strategies (SatowStrategies.com), to deliver big business brand strategies to small businesses and start-ups. In 2009, she co-founded Buzzuka (Buzzuka.com), to help others create and promote a powerful 30-second elevator pitch. Paula is author of the Ridiculously Easy Guide™ to Getting Along Better with Your Woman, part of her web-based publishing platform (RidiculouslyEasyGuide.com). Paula delivers free workshops on Personal Positioning and Power Networking to job seekers for community-based non-profits. She is a devoted “wabi-sabiist,” founder of the upcoming WabiSabiCafe.com and author of an upcoming book on wabi-sabi. She holds a BA in English and Film and an MA in Media Studies. (www.PaulaSatow.com).
Press Contact: Francine Hardaway Cell: 602-910-5622 Francine@stealthmode.com Twitter: @hardaway