Mesa Summer Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Programs

Mesa Summer Neighborhood Entrepreneurship Programs

MeinJuneFor 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.

Join us at AZEC11 on November 16th

AZEC09-attendeesLast week in a board meeting, I listened as the chairman opened his remarks with the opening quote from Dickens’ classic novel A Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

There is no doubt that the last few years have been challenging ones for entrepreneurs at every stage of development. Yet through it all, new companies have been born, new innovations have launched and every November Arizona’s entrepreneurs have gathered to connect, engage and share ideas at AZEC – the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference.

AZEC11This year on November 16th at Desert Willow Conference Center in Phoenix, the theme is growth through each of the stages of entrepreneurship. This year’s speakers are some of the best yet as we’ll explore funding, support, successful models and successful exits.

Not only will AZEC 11 bring together our entrepreneurial and investor community, it will again fund OTEF programs to educate, mentor and support members of our community who truly need a hand up and assistance in gaining economic self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship.

The links below will take you to all the information you may want to view before deciding to join us.

(If you are already signed up, thanks! Please feel free to share them with a friend.

· AZEC11 Registration

· AZEC11 Home Page

· AZEC11 Agenda

· AZEC11 Speakers

· OTEF – The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation

I hope you will be able to join us on November 16, 2011. If you choose to register, you can use discount code “jkw25” to save $25.

All the best,


Joan Koerber-Walker

Chairman, CorePurpose, Inc.

Chairman, OTEF, The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation

President and CEO, AZBio, The Arizona BioIndustry Association

A look back at AZEC10 in Pictures

AZEC10:  OTEF Chair Joan Koerber-Walker.  Photo by Mark Goldstein IRC.  Used with permission One of my favorite days of the year is when the AZEC photos are posted by our photographer.  This year, looking back at the photos on Flickr from the Fifth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference on 11/17/10 at the Desert Willow Conference Center is no exception.   Over 200 entrepreneurs, investors, and community leaders gathered to connect, share, and engage while raising money to help others in our community find new hope and opportunities along the path of entrepreneurship. Continue reading “A look back at AZEC10 in Pictures”

Entrepreneurs are Different and That’s OK

As part of our continuing series on student take aways from AZEC10, here’s a great message to keep in mind… It’s OK to be different.

By Ian Newell, Richmond Virginia

My name is Ian Newell, a recent college graduate with a degree in a philosophy and religious studies. Life up until this point has been pretty straight forward which many people find comfort in. You go to college, get a job, maybe find someone along the way and have a few kids. But now it’s time to pull myself off of that path of certainty. It’s time to start anew in something without any planned life expectancy or security, filled with unknowns and risk. This will be something that doesn’t start and stop with the tick of a clock or a punch of a card. I am in the process of starting my own business. Continue reading “Entrepreneurs are Different and That’s OK”

The Only Reason to Start a Company is…

Attendee take-aways from AZEC10

Each year at AZEC, students from our Arizona universities are sponsored by members of our entrepreneurial community to attend, connect, learn, share and engage.  It is part of OTEF’s philosophy that to build a strong community you invest in it.  And when we do, we pay it forward to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Continue reading “The Only Reason to Start a Company is…”