Founded in 2005 by Francine Hardaway, Ed Nusbaum, and Rob Dunaway, The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation (OTEF) was formed to provide training and support to help at-risk youth and adults improve their lives by creating and growing entrepreneurial ventures. OTEF is a grass roots organization supported by Arizona’s Entrepreneurial Community. If you think funding an entrepreneurial venture can be a challenge, try starting a foundation! So these creative founders reached out to their networks in Arizona and across the United States with a great idea, let’s raise the funds needed to serve OTEF’s mission by creating a series of conferences by and for entrepreneurs. Proceeds, sponsorships and donations originating from the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences would provide support for OTEF’s programs with at-risk populations throughout the year. And so it began…
Since its beginnings in 2005, OTEF has made a difference in our community by presenting AZEC06, The OTEF Social Media Conference, AZEC07, AZEC08, AZEC09, AZEC10, AZEC11, AZEC12, AZEC13, and AZEC14 as well as by delivering meaningful community programs to released felons, domestic violence victims, teen-age runaways, and laid off workers.
In addition, D3Bio, OTEF’s collaboration with the Arizona Bioindustry Association, has provided the opportunity for over 1,000 students from Arizona high schools and universities to connect with industry leaders and entrepreneurs to showcase their life science and healthcare research projects at statewide conferences.
Now, as we prepare for a new decade, OTEF has embarked on a a new program, AZAdvances, to address needs including entrepreneurial support and early-stage capital within Arizona’s growing life science innovation sector. By supporting these entrepreneurs, we look towards a day when people who are at-risk due to health challenges can have hope for a healthier tomorrow.