The OPPORTUNITY THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP FOUNDATION Celebrates the Vital Role Entrepreneurs Play in Innovation, Job Creation and Economic Recovery as a Partner in Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010

OTEF joins more than 650 organizations in the United States to educate and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs

PHOENIX, AZ  (Nov. 11,2010) – This November, young people around the globe will get together to change the world. To celebrate the vital role entrepreneurs play in innovation, job creation and economic recovery, OTEF is participating in Global Entrepreneurship Week on Nov. 16 – 22, 2010 to inspire, connect, mentor and engage young people.

OTEF will hold its major fundraiser, the Fifth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference, at the Desert Willow Conference Center all day on Nov. 17 as a local kickoff for the week.

Co-founded in 2008 by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in the United States and Make Your Mark, a business-led government-backed campaign in the United Kingdom, Global Entrepreneurship Week will connect young people through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. Students, educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, employees, non-profit leaders, government officials and others will participate in a host of activities that include virtual and face-to-face events, large-scale competitions and intimate networking gatherings.

In 2010, the Week is estimated to exceed the 3 million people and 8,800 organizations around the globe that participated in the inaugural Global Entrepreneurship Week in 2008. Already, more than 650 organizations in more than 80 countries have signed up.

OTEF’s creator, Stealthmode Partners, has been a partner of the Kauffman Foundation since 2003, offering Fasttrac New Venture, Fasttrac Growth Venture, and Fasttrac Tech Venture programs to educate and mentor entrepreneurs throughout Maricopa County.

“The world knows that entrepreneurship is the key to economic recovery, and the next generation of innovators holds that key,” said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “Now more than ever, we need to unleash the creativity and ingenuity of our youth by engaging them in the endless possibilities of entrepreneurship.”

Arizona has a vibrant entrepreneurial community whose bright stars are busy changing the world and growing their companies, bootstrapping, borrowing, begging — as entrepreneurs do in good times and bad. Each year, the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference highlights local companies and invites some out-of-towners to see what we’re doing.

This year, it will highlight four entrepreneurial growth segments.

Sponsors include:   Phoenix Business Journal, Ernst and Young, Infusionsoft, Osborn Maledon, Mashable, Metro Studios, Snell and Wilmer, Barnes and Noble,  Stealthmode Partners, Gangplank, Kolbe Corp, Pay Your Family First,  and many more local businesses and community organizations. To see the full listing visit

Registration for the conference is at  Follow us on Twitter at @azentrepreneurs.

About OTEF

The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation (OTEF) provides training and support to help at-risk youth and adults improve their lives by creating and growing entrepreneurial ventures.

Contact:FRANCINE, @azentrepreneurs


October 6, 2010 — Phoenix , Ariz.

The fifth annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference (AZEC10) , “The Great Reset: Opportunities for Change and Innovation.” takes place on Wednesday, November 17. This year’s conference will be held at the Desert Willow Conference Center from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

AZEC10_Logo“The annual event is a way to provide effective collaboration among all the different groups and market sectors in the Arizona business community,” says Francine Hardaway, conference founder and an entrepreneurial catalyst in the Arizona community. “Our goal is to create a ‘sense of place’ to support the local entrepreneurs and to encourage new ones to start and grow their ventures here.”

This year’s event format encourages more networking among attendees and features both local success stories and expert resources on everything from launching companies and creating small business marketing programs to navigating successful exits.

Keynote speakers include Dave McClure, Silicon Valley VC and luminary, Brian Solis, social media thought leader and author of “Engage.” Kathy Kolbe, Chairman of the Board and Chief Creative Officer of Kolbe Corp, Sharon Lechter, co-founder of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and now founder of Pay Your Family First, and top tier web strategist Jeremiah Owyang partner in Altimeter Group.

A special panel on “Change and Your Funding Strategy” will feature local leaders sharing their insights on what it takes to get funded in Arizona. There will also be a showcase exhibit section of Arizona companies and organizations who provide services to support the entrepreneurship community.

Local “champion of social goodness” company was officially introduced at AZEC09, and company Founder and CEO Eric Keosky-Smith will be back this year to present an update on and overview of what he has learned in the process, with advice for entrepreneurs on today’s pitfalls and opportunities: “The explosion of insight and ideas that came out  of AZEC08, the launch of those ideas at AZEC09, and the ongoing evolution of our company and many others directly tied to this conference make it hands down the best one-day investment , period, whether you’re an entrepreneur, a business unit manager, or an investor.”

OTEF Logo Proceeds from AZEC10 are used to provide training and support to help at risk youth and adults through the Opportunity through Entrepreneurship Foundation (OTEF), which is designed to help improve lives by creating and growing entrepreneurial ventures.

For more information and to register for AZEC10, visit Special discount rates are available for students. General attendees can save $25 by taking advantage of the earl bird registration offer by registering before October 16, 2010.


AZ Entrepreneurship Conf to Feature Brian Solis

By Linda VandeVrede on September 30th, 2010 In Professional Development

The AZ Entrepreneurship Conference this year includes PR thought leader Brian Solis as one of the featured speakers.   Since he is rarely in Phoenix, mark your calendar for Wed., November 17th and be sure to attend this event.  He’ll be talking about “Engagement as Customer Service,” based on the concepts laid out in his book, “Engage:  The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate and Measure Success in the New Web.” Read more at the Valley PR Blog

OTEF Launches New Website

Phoenix Arizona

OTEF, the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation today announced the launch of its new and improved website at

The non-profit, which collaborates  with other community organizations to provide at-risk populations with a path to economic self sufficiency through entrepreneurship offers  educational programs, mentoring and support to individuals who have  been side tracked by past actions, personal challenges, or the economy.

“Hundreds of Arizona entrepreneurs have participated in OTEF programs without ever knowing it” shared Joan Koerber-Walker, OTEF’s chairman of the board. “Each year entrepreneurs come from across Arizona and across North America to connect, engage, share ideas, and build their businesses. What they may not realize is that as they do, they are also supporting OTEF’s mission to help others since all of the proceeds from the conference support OTEF’s work in the community throughout the year.”

This year’s full-day conference, AZEC10 (  will be held at the Desert Willow Conference Center on Phoenix, Arizona on November 17, 2010.  Early registration discounts are currently in effect until October 15th.

The conference’s theme is  “The Great Reset” and will connect the  300+ attendees  together local entrepreneurs and ceos who will  share their stories as well as national thought leaders including Dave McClure, Jeremiah Oywang, Brian Solis, Kathy Kolbe, and Sharon Lechter.

Getting ready for the conference  inspired the OTEF team internally to hit their own reset button and when the screen refreshed, the new appeared.

OTEF hits the Reset Button with AZEC10

Phoenix, Arizona

September 25, 2010

OTEF, The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation, is again hosting Arizona’s Annual entrepreneurship conference to support the organization’s mission of  providing training and support to help at-risk youth and adults improve their lives by creating and growing entrepreneurial ventures.

This year’s conference, AZEC10 – The Fifth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference, will focus on what new entrepreneurs and established business owners alike can do to hit the ‘reset’ button in their businesses and get things growing again.

The full day conference will be held on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at the Desert Willow Conference Center in Phoenix from 8 AM to 7 PM.

Combining national thought leaders and local CEOs in a forum for best practices, networking, and collaboration has been a hallmark of the conference since its inception in 2006 and this year’s conference is no exception with an all star line up including Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Dave McClure, Technology Analyst Jeremiah Owyang, marketing and online media expert Brain Solis, Flowtown founder Ethan Bloch combined with local leaders from Callaman Ventures, Arizona Angels, Beanstalk CFO, Infusionsoft, Kolbe Corp, EcoEdge,, Pay Your Family First, BrainSavers, Gangplank, and Pillsbury Winery.

Early Registration Discounts (though October 17th) and tickets are available on the conference website at  Members of the community may also elect to Sponsor a Student or support  OTEF and AZEC10 through donations and sponsorships.

“AZEC10 and OTEF’s efforts would not be possible without the ongoing support of our community” stated OTEF Chairman Joan Koerber-Walker. “We are deeply grateful to all of this year’s speakers for their willingness to share  their experiences and ideas and to our conference sponsors: the Business Journal Phoenix, Infusionsoft, Stealthmode Partners, Gangplank, AZIPA, Metro Studios, RynoWeb,, and Deru Internet Services along with the  many community partners who lend their support year after year.”

For more information contact:

Francine Hardaway, OTEF Executive Director, 602.412.3315

Joan Koerber-Walker, OTEF Chairman of the Board, 602.456.9636

Grow VC Interview with Francine Hardaway showcases OTEF and AZEC10



On September 3, 2010,  OTEF executive director and co-founder Francine Hardaway was interviewed on the popular GrowVC blog.  In this interview she shares OTEF’s story and gives a seak peek at what you might find this year at the Fifth Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference.

To read the recap and listen to the podcast – click here

Bright Enterprising Ideas at AZEC09 Show Rise in Sales, Employment

AZEC09 in the News:  via Tech News Arizona

By Tom Gibbons
Special Business Correspondent to TNAZ


AZWebcasting sent out the AZEC09 live online from the conference’s Desert Willow Conference Center site.
Credit: AZWebcasting

Dixon Golf makes a ball that is biodegradable, and the company says it performs as well as conventional golf balls.

The eco-friendly ball does not defy gravity. But the company is defying it — at least for now.

The Mesa-based company was one four companies chosen to speak on sustaining growth in a recession at the recent Arizona Entrepreneurs Conference – AZEC09 — in Phoenix. The four firms were averaging more than 70 percent sales growth over the past year.

For start-ups and young companies and the people who invest in them, the current recession presents challenges — and opportunities.

Entrepreneurs have the time, the talent is available and cheap, and the price is of investing is more likely to be reasonable.

These companies — DreamSpan, a developer natural health supplements in Phoenix, MxSecure, a medical transcription service in Scottsdale, Synergy Homecare of the East Valley, a provider residential non-medical care, and Dixon — are bright spots in sea of economic gloom. Read More…