Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation

Providing Skills, Support, Sustainability


The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation was started by Francine Hardaway in 2005 because she is a former foster parent and two of her former foster kids are ex-felons who went to prison for non-violent offenses during the years of mass incarcerations.
They have never been able to get jobs that would support them after they “did their time” and she decided the best thing to do for them would be to put them into business. But first they had to learn “legal” business skills. So she started the foundation with the mission to provide entrepreneurship skills to disadvantaged populations.
Over the years,  we raised money for the Foundation by running 8 statewide entrepreneurship conferences. With the proceeds, we helped over 1000 entrepreneurs and several non-profit partners start businesses. Our biggest success stories have been helping Tumbleweed Home for Runaway Youth start a t-shirt business that survives to this day, helping Southwest Autism Research and Rehabilitation Center start a coffee bean packaging business, and helping a group of domestic violence victims start the Cup o’Karma coffee shop in Mesa. We have also run entrepreneurship programs at Gangplank in Chandler and at the West Mesa Community Development Corporation.
This year we have three target projects:
An after school entrepreneurship program for at risk kids who attend SySTEM Schools – partnering with SySTEM Schools
A lunch support and education group for small businesses and craft sellers in downtown Phoenix
A business that helps felons who are in prison sell their artwork to people on the outside and earn money for their families – partnering with a man who spent 17 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and was freed by the Arizona Justice Project.
Every penny donated to OTEF goes to train entrepreneurs. Francine serves as the volunteer Executive Director, and also one of the other trainers. The other one is Phillip Blackerby.
Here is a list of current and former supporters. This year we received our first foundation grant from the LaNelle Robson Foundation. It is for $25,000 in two tranches. We have already received the first $10,000.

OTEF’s strength come from the many great partners, volunteers and sponsors who make our programs possible.  Our thanks go out to…

Amanda Vega PR, Angel Capital Education Foundation, Anil Jain, Annie Loyd, Arizona Small Business Association, Arizona Angels, Arizona Department of Commerce, Arizona Internet Professionals Association, APS, Arizona Republic, Arizona State University, Arizona Technology Council, AZ Webcasting, Barbara Daniels, Blackerby Associates, Brain Savers, Brent Richardson, Business Journal of Phoenix, Callaman Ventures, Chris Heuer, Chris Pirillo, City of Mesa, City of Tempe Economic Development Department, City Of Phoenix, Clay Stubblefield, Club Entrepreneur, CorePurpose, Dave Cooke, Dave Lee, Dave McClure,Deru Internet Services, Dan Morrison, Dixon Golf, Don Henninger, Ed Nusbaum, EmpowHer, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Ephibian, Essential Event Technologies, Faith Weese, FlyPaper, Flowtown, Francine Hardaway, Funding Universe, Gitenstein & Assadi Public Relations, Infusionsoft, ,Gangplank, Henry G. Miller,  Howard Lindzon, Gary Vaynerchuk, Grand Canyon University, Grid7, Ignite Phoenix, International Research Center , Jigsaw Health, Joan Koerber-Walker, Kathy Sacks, Kauffman Foundation, KFNN, KTAR, Linda VandeVrede, Lisa Ellis, Lon Safko, Lynn Paige, Marianne Hudson, Maryanne Weiss, Marc Canter, Maricopa Chamber of Commerce, Mark Goldstein, Matt Mullenweg, McMinn HR, Merlin Ward, Metro Studios, Michael Gerber, Mike Hawksworth,  Michelle Hanna, PhD, Michelle Robson, Microsoft, MIT Enterprise Forums, Morris Callaman, MSS Technologies, NetworkingPhoenix.com, Pam Slim, Pat Sullivan,  Patrick Sullivan, Paul E. Bendheim, MD, Paul Sanders, Paula Satow,  Perfect Power, Peter Burns, Peter Thomas, Phillip and Alice  Blackerby, Phil Gordon, Phoenix Innovation Foundation, Pillsbury Wine Company, PodCampAZ, PourMasters, Raleigh Pinskey, RiboMed Biotechnologies, Rick Gibson, Robert Dunaway, Roberto Guerreri, Robert Scoble, Sacks Public Relations, Sam Pillsbury, SCORE, Sherry Azzarella, Shwaag, Snell and Wilmer, Social Media Club Phoenix, SRP, Stealthmode Partners, Steven Groves, Swartz and Associates, Susan Assadi, Tara Hunt, Telesphere, Teri Spencer, TheSocialMediaBible.com, TIE Arizona, U.S. Small Business Administration,William Carey, WordCamp Phoenix