Testimonials

On OTEF’s work with SAARC

Our thanks go out to Phil Blackerby and Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation (OTEF) for assisting SARRC with one of our newest social entrepreneurial ventures, CulinaryWorks.  As a start up company, it is often difficult to see the forest for the trees and, as part of a growing nonprofit, it can be tough just finding the time to contemplate the trees!   Phil was able to quickly grasp our challenges and opportunities and provide clear and practical advice and resources.  He was also helpful in challenging our thinking about product delivery, providing cost-effective alternatives for packaging and insight  on our  sales and marketing strategies.  It was a pleasure to learn from someone with the depth of experience, wisdom and passion for entrepreneurship.  Thank you for helping us realize our dreams! —-Jeri Kendle, President, Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC)

The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation (OTEF) provides an opportunity like few others within our community: quality, real-life and current expertise and tons of support that’s absolutely relevant to companies. The motivational output is organic, and the experience lodges itself into your life the way you’d hope it would – you’re added to as a businessperson, and work forward knowing that the strength of knowledgeable community is there. –Marissa Shaffer, Founder, Shaffer Companies

On OTEF’s Entrepreneurial Program with Tumbleweed
Both DIG and TumbleTees are growing steadily. We just got approved as a Vendor for Magellan for selling T-shirts, and have been invited to get listed as a City of Phoenix Vendor for them too. DIG partnerships continue to grow. Steven is doing a wonderful job. We are not offering classes to the community during the week that we charge for and local community artist do the teaching mostly as volunteers or for a piece of the proceeds. The ASU partnership with the Art Department grew as ASU named the DIG their main project in a $1 Mil Grant from BofA. We don’t get cash, but don’t have to pay artist any more either. Be watching for TumbleDogs, a hot dog care busines, that is about to kick off Entrepreneurship is of the most exciting programs we do in my mind. Thank you for all you have done to make these entrepreneurial programs entrenched into our culture. –Dick Geasland, LCSW, Executive Director
Tumbleweed Center for Youth Development

“OTEF literally change lives – for the better! Arizona’s deep economic downturn has left hundreds of highly skilled workers unemployed for long periods of time, with few options to return to previous jobs. I’ve personally seen the impact of OTEF’s Blueprint for Survival workshop in bringing these individuals new thinking and new resources. The workshop has been the spark that ignited new directions and entrepreneurial approaches and moved talented people from despair to productivity, making a profound and long-lasting difference in their lives and in the community.” –Pat Elliott- Western Marketing Group

At the end of each session I am almost in tears when I listen to the participants thank me for giving them hope and ideas. I believe that just putting people into a like-minded community empowers them to do new things and see possibilities.” –Francine Hardaway, OTEF Executive Director

“The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation (OTEF) selected one of our programs, Support, Education, Empowerment & Directions (SEEDs), to teach our residents how to start their own businesses. In order to understand the depth of what the women and myself learned you need to have an understanding of who it is we work with and what we do. The SEEDs Program are safe homes that offer intense support services for battered and sexually abused women in recovery. We opened our first home in 2003 and the second home in the latter part of 2006. Since women can live in the homes up to 24 months the staff and volunteers have the opportunity to really get to know the residents and develop close relationships and vice versa. As part of our services we have offered domestic violence, healthy relationships, and parenting education, art and journaling classes. The services and education groups offered are selected by and for the women that live in the homes. When SEEDs was first selected as a pilot project by OTEF I was apprehensive to put it mildly. The women who come to SEEDs have already been through so much including disappointments, failures and unresolved grief in their lives. I in no way wanted to be responsible for setting them up to fail again. What happened to the women in the 10 weeks of class was so unexpected or rather made me take another look at how much I underestimated the strength and resilience of these women to overcome their horrific pasts and grasp onto the opportunity to grow and succeed if given the chance.

OTEF’s affiliation with SEEDs has been rewarding both on a personal and professional level for the residents and for myself. Following in-depth and informative discussions of developing feasibility plans, business plans, and models the women were immersed into the culture of business ventures using resources familiar to them and ideas that sat dormant inside of each and every one of them. Working as a team and vigilantly redesigning their concept into a working business plan that will one day be run by and for the women who want it. Phil Blackerby, Ed Nusbaum, and Francine Hardaway, the FastTrac facilitation team, are the miracle workers that made this all happen.

For me, the course brought our program to another level. The SEEDs program did not have a business plan when we began. We now have a business plan that provides direction for the very program that houses the women in our group homes and how to grow. –MonaLou Callery, Founder and Executive Director SEEDS

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