For the past two summers, OTEF has offered five-week programs in entrepreneurship skills to residents of West Mesa, Arizona, a neighborhood impacted by an aging population, changing demographics, and light rail construction.
The West Mesa, Arizona neighborhood is now considered a low-income portion of a Phoenix suburb.
To offer our programs, we partner with The West Mesa CDC (WMCDC), a nonprofit organization incorporated for the purpose of bringing economic and community development activities to West Mesa. A group of long-time residents petitioned Arizona Public Service (APS) for a grant to attend training and conferences focused on community development and resident initiatives that succeed in creating effective change.
Many of those residents, as well as other neighborhood people, have come to our programs. We have trained people who sell on EBay, people who have small local businesses in the neighborhood, and people who want to start home-based businessesOur programs are received with outright joy by the neighborhood, and people participate in more than one session. In addition to the programs, which we now run as Roundtables, we provide 1:1 counseling over a long period of time. We differ from SCORE or SBDC in that we keep in touch with our participants long after the program ends, and take steps to help assure that they stay in business.
This is the same neighborhood in which we started our very successful Cup o’Karma coffee shop with the Nation Seeds women. Cup o’Karma is still in business after five years!
This summer’s program begins June 2, at 5:30 PM, and neighborhood residents and businesses may register here.