Thankless tasks

by francine Hardaway on October 15, 2007

Is it only women who are prone to think everything they do is thankless?

Two years ago, I established a foundation, the Opportunity Through
Entrepreneurship Foundation,
to train
disadvantaged people to be entrepreneurs. Why? Because I was a foster
mom, and I have seen my adult foster children, aged out of the system,
struggle with low-wage jobs. I still take three or four of them out to
dinner once a month and listen to their plight: not enough hours in one
job to pay the rent, so a second job. Two jobs and still not enough
money to get a car. And no time for family or social life. Just work
and sleep.

More and more people are in this position, so I thought it would be good
to teach them to fish, rather than give them a fish. Most jobs, even
for educated people, are temporary and unsatisfying. Entrepreneurship
gives people positive energy. Even the THOUGHT of owning one’s own
business is energizing. Our pilot program at the SEEDs house proved

So I thought, why hold out my hand for contributions, when I can raise
money by providing value to existing entrepreneurs, charge them a small
fee for that value, and use the proceeds to train the disadvantaged to
live better lives? I can provide a service to the community and raise a
little money to provide an even better service to the community.

That’s how I got into the business of providing the Annual
Entrepreneurship Conferences
. Last
year’s was a sell-out, and the Early Bird Discount for this one, which
takes place on November 8, ends Oct. 18.

I put together the most kickass agenda I can possibly concoct, summoning
friends from all over the country to help. <a href=””>Marc Canter, one of the
founders of Macromedia, is
coming in for this one, as is Michael Gerber, author of “The E-Myth.”
Many local investors and successful
entrepreneurs will also be there to provide information, especially in
the major areas of interest to Arizona: real estate and capital
formation. And oh yeah, green tech.

But will I get enough money to fund the next Opportunity Through
Entrepreneurship Foundation program? I don’t know yet. So this morning I
will go down to the City of Phoenix with my hat in my hand for CDBG
funds. I’ve already applied twice for them, and been rejected. Why?
Because thinking strategically is impossible for those who deal daily
with human need. They get lost in a miasma of food stamps, food
baskets, guide dogs, and meth programs.

So <a href=””>please sign up for the conference
and help me raise the money that
way. Nov. 8 will be fun, and well worth the price. And the money
DOESN’T go into the pockets of the organizers :-) This isn’t a Silicon
Valley tech conference where a big media company makes the bucks.

If you can’t come, you might want to send a contribution to anyway. That’s our PayPal account. Don’t sign up and be a no-show, because $78 of the $99 Early Bird fee pays the hotel, so that doesn’t help!

Yes, today I’m sitting here wondering why I do these things. But when
I’m helping domestic violence victims start their own business, I will
feel different.

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