This year, OTEF’s entrepreneurship training program was held in conjunction with the City of Chandler and Gangplank, a not-for-profit community collaboration space in downtown Chandler. Entrepreneurs with an idea gathered first at StartupWeekendChandler to collaborate in 54 hours of non-stop idea pitching, team formation, and preliminary planning.
The teams that emerged from StartupWeekendChandler were invited to participate in a Roadmap to Launch program for eight weeks at Gangplank. OTEF conducted that program, and we’re happy to report that the room was full to overflowing all summer long, and about twenty-five attendees participated.
In this program, disadvantaged entrepreneurs from Chandler and environs received the same Lean Startup training given to Silicon Valley’s best and brightest, thanks to the OTEF facilitation team.
One of the participants, ChowLocally, a website devoted to bringing locally grown food to people in the Valley of the Sun, actually launched the company two weeks before the end of the program, and broke even in its first week of operations, although the entrepreneurs are not taking salaries just yet:-)
Ten companies competed in an “Extreme Pitch” event to convince partners, potential customers, and perhaps even investors to evangelize their new products and services. Of course the trick is to keep these companies sustaining, and OTEF will keep in touch with them throughout the year, offering support and connections.
Above is a photo of OTEF’s 2011 “class” at its graduation lunch. They’ve already bonded, and can also continue to help one another.